×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NHL embraces digital offerings

NHL Season Preview 2011

Coming out of the lost 2004-05 lockout season, the NHL took a serious look how fans were interacting with the league.

“We saw you couldn’t depend on anybody else who would tell you the stories of what had happened the night before in the NHL,” explains John Collins, chief operating officer of the NHL. “You weren’t getting that from your local news and you weren’t getting it from ‘SportsCenter.’ There was a big void there, and the only way we were going to change that was if we provided that, if we served the fan in that way.”

That meant changing the league from a licensing model to becoming a media company, producing and distributing its content directly to fans and creating opportunities for advertisers at the same time.

Assets such as the NHL Network, which offers detailed highlights and news as well as live games, has become a valuable asset that pays off for the league in multiple ways, says Tim Leiweke, prexy and CEO of AEG Worldwide and a top Los Angeles Kings exec.

“It gives us the ability to have a channel that we own that not only will dramatically increase in value and be a valuable resource for all of the 30 owners, but it also serves the demand hockey junkies have in the U.S. on a daily basis,” he says.

Digital offerings such as video content on NHL.com, the online game-streaming subscription service “NHL GameCenter Live” and mobile content have all grown rapidly. NHL.com reports average monthly unique visitors grew 30% in 2010-11 over the previous season, while subs to “GameCenter” rose 37%.

Leiweke says the Kings mirrored the NHL’s commitment to digital media, leading to the team hiring a full staff and beat writer to create in-depth news and video access that fans weren’t getting from the local media. That’s resulted in LAKings.com recording a million unique visitors per month.

“I think that’s directly tied into the fact that the NHL has control of its own destiny, and is spending a large amount of resources toward making sure that NHL.com has great unique content and is one of the best sites for hockey,” he says.

Collins says the league’s media sales-sharing deal with NBC, under which the Peacock will handle ad sales for all platforms — from mobile and online to broadcasts on the Web — generates even more potential for the league.

“(NBC is) going to market with about $2 billion worth of ad sales this year, with the Olympics and the Super Bowl and Sunday Night Football,” Collins says of NBC. “We want the NHL to be positioned alongside those marquee properties.”

Digital media has extended the NHL’s reach across the Atlantic to its growing fan base in Europe. The Kings started this season playing an exhibition match in Hamburg, Germany, and will open the regular season with games against the New York Rangers in Stockholm and the Buffalo Sabres in Berlin.

Leiweke says the league has done a good job in taking charge of its brand and developing media strategies that will continue to build its fan base in Europe.

Collins says there is still a lot of work to be done on the media side, but the NHL is pleased with its success so far.

“From a market standpoint, seeing the fan base grow and the events become bigger, particularly the Stanley Cup, I think our sport is well positioned in the digital age,” he says.

NHL SEASON PREVIEW 2011
NBC deal raises NHL’s game | NHL embraces digital offerings | Winter Classic a new outdoor tradition

More TV

  • Steven Canals25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards,

    'Pose' Co-Creator Steven Canals Inks Overall Deal With 20th Century Fox TV

    Steven Canals, who co-created the groundbreaking series “Pose” with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck, has inked an overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. Canals recently made his directorial debut with the eighth episode of “Pose” season 2 titled “Revelations,” and the deal marks his first with any studio. “Pose” is set to return for [...]

  • Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris. Brandi Carlile,

    CMT Pledges to Air 50% Female Artists in Music Video Programming From Now On

    The country music television network that started the “Next Women of Country” franchise is now promising to be “Half Women of Country.” CMT announced Tuesday that all of its music video programming blocks will consist of 50% female artists from here on out. “Effective immediately all music video hours on CMT and CMT Music channels [...]

  • ABC Orders Comedy Pilot From Sherry

    ABC Orders Western Comedy Pilot From Sherry Bilsing-Graham, Ellen Kreamer

    ABC has handed out their first comedy pilot order of the 2020-2021 season. ABC has ordered the single-cam project “Prospect.” It is described as a comedic western about an idealistic young woman who moves to the frontier to be a schoolteacher. Her ideals are quickly tested when she learns that her students are rowdy ranch [...]

  • Laura Dern arrives for the 26th

    Laura Dern to Play Bartender in Quibi Series 'Just One Drink'

    Laura Dern saw Baby Yoda at a basketball game, and soon she’ll be able to tell her patrons all about it. The actor, who won a SAG Award on Sunday for her performance in “Marriage Story,” is the latest creative name to head on over to Quibi for a series in which she will portray [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'The Bachelor' Ticks Up

    TV Ratings: 'The Bachelor' Ticks Up 20%, ABC Wins Monday Rose

    “The Bachelor” saw a solid uptick week-to-week in the TV ratings, leading ABC to victory on a competitive Monday night. The dating show scored a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49, roughly a 20% increase on last week’s episode, and 6.2 million total viewers, up almost 1 million viewers from last week. “The Good Doctor” benefited [...]

  • The Simpsons - Disney parodies -

    Disney Mashes Up 'The Simpsons' Parodies of Disney Films, Theme Parks

    Disney has embraced some of the gentle ribbing dished out by “The Simpsons” over the years — hoping to convince more people to sign up for Disney Plus. The media conglomerate released a compilation of what it calls “the best Disney references in ‘The Simpsons,'” which is now part of the Disney empire, with past [...]

  • Xtremo

    Netflix Unveils ‘Xtremo,’ a Full-On Spanish Action Movie with Teo García, Óscar Jaenada (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI — Breaking barriers, Netflix is preparing to unleash “Xtremo,” billed as one of Spain’s first full-on action thriller movies, starring Oscar Jaenada (“Luis Miguel,” “Hernán”) and action specialist Teo García. A Netflix Original Film directed by Daniel Benmayor, “Xtremo” also marks the first production of Showrunner Films, the new production company set up by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content