By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
December 17, 2013: In what the league called a "landmark" alliance, the NHL on Nov. 26 unveiled a 12-year, $4.9 billion ($5.2 billion Canadian) agreement with Rogers Communications for broadcast and multimedia rights in Canada. The agreement is the "largest media-rights deal in NHL history and one of the largest media rights deals in Canadian history,
One year ago, this and other alliances seemed out of the NHL's reach.
In 2012-13, the NHL's second lockout in seven years — and the third since 1995 — cut the season down to 48 games and appeared to be the final setback in a plan to attract fan, marketing and media interest beyond the league's self-proclaimed nucleus of hard-core followers.
But in 2013-14, the NHL embarked on what evp-marketing Brian Jennings called "our most ambitious season ever."
That included going from two outdoor games — the Bridgestone Winter Classic and Tim Hortons Heritage Classic — to six. The four new games are part of the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, scheduled for Dodger Stadium, two games in Yankee Stadium and the fourth in Chicago's Soldier Field.
The season also encompasses the Winter Olympics (Feb. 7-23), during which the NHL will suspend play but send amore than 120 NHL players are expected to compete for their respective nations in Sochi.
Lead U.S. media partner NBC and the NBC Sports Group are all in. Programming, marketing support and multi-platform activations are an outgrowth of the ten-year deal between NBCSG and the NHL signed in 2011 and valued at $2 billion.
The NHL and NBC are supporting the Winter Classic and Stadium Series with a multi-platform marketing campaign. That includes a seven-part documentary series, "NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other," described as an "all-access, behind-the-scenes look" at the teams involved in the Stadium Series outdoor games as well as the players who will be part of the WInter Olympics.
HBO this month debuted 24/7 (Detroit) Red Wings/ (Toronto)Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic, leading to there New Year's Day event that could see more than 100,000 people fill game venue Michigan University Stadium.
Marketing partners that joined this season include Advil, Anco and L'Oreal.
"For the NHL and the NHL Players Assn., this is a huge year," said John Collins, COO for he league. It's been a process for us. In 2006 . . . we were a $2.2 billion business . . . We’ve been focused now for the last six years in growing our global scale and business. We brought in our blue chip partners to help grow the league. We believe the Stadium Series and outdoor games can add more than $1 billion in revenue to the league and give us what would be more than $4 billion in total revenue."
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NHL, Marketers Taking Outdoor Games To Another Level
Back to 2013 Sports Marketers of the Year
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