They're Lovin' It: NHL, McDonald's Extend, Enhance Marketing Partnership

January 19, 2011: The National Hockey League has renewed and extended its alliance with McDonald’s, which has been a league partner in Canada since 1993 and a U.S. partner since 2008. Anchoring the new deal, which will run through the end of the 2010-11 season, is enhanced sponsor activation at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 30 and title sponsorship for the inaugural "Hockey Day in America presented by McDonald’s" on Feb. 20.

Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.

McDonald’s this season has already activated around the 2010 NHL Compuware Premiere games in Helsinki, Prague and Stockholm; and the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Hockey Day in America presented by McDonald’s will be a six-hour "celebration of the sport of hockey" on NBC. Programming will include four NHL games, the first three of which will air regionally with staggered starts to allow for live look-ins of the other games during intermissions. The fourth game, Pittsburgh Penguins at Chicago Blackhawks, will be broadcast nationally. All games will be streamed live on The telecast will also feature "stories that demonstrate this country’s affinity for hockey," according to NBC Sports.

As part of its activation at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, NC, McDonald’s will sponsor the “Kid Zone” at NHL Fan Fair, will be the presenting sponsor of the accuracy shooting contest during the Honda NHL SuperSkills Competition and will bring back the  “In the Lineup” program, where 12 youth hockey players will be able to meet and stand alongside NHL players on the ice before the All-Star Game at RBC Center.

Under the new agreement, McDonald’s USA will continue to support NHL media, including NHL Network,, NBC and Versus.  A charitable component from the NHL includes "monetary and in-kind contributions" in support of Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“The quick service restaurant category is an important one to reach a broad audience, and as McDonald’s major sports League partner, the possibilities of what we are able to achieve together are limitless,” Keith Wachtel, svp-integrated sales for the NHL, said in a statement. “It’s a marriage between two great brands that will provide unique activations as well as community support.”

“It’s a marriage between two great brands that will provide unique activations as well as community support.”

According to John Lewicki, director of sports marketing for McDonald’s, “The National Hockey League is a strong and relevant partner and offers our brand unique ways to connect with our customers. At McDonald’s, we strive to bring our customers some of the best sports properties around, and through this continued relationship, we’re excited to bring fun, new extensions to hockey fans.” 

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