You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBC Sports Takes Early Shot at Goal of Marketing NHL

To get the National Hockey League’s many players enthused about the league’s coming season, NBC Sports pitted them against serious competitors: a passel of kids.

In an athletic complex in Stamford, Conn., players including Dylan Larken of the  Detroit Red Wings and Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks surprise squads of hockey acolytes. The change in the kids’ faces upon learning who they are squaring off against masks the day’s true purpose. The players have come to Stamford – where NBC Sports has its headquarters – to run before a phalanx of cameras as NBC and the NHL seek to capture their words and images in advance of the 2017-2018 season, which is slated to start October 4. Their pictures and conversations will become video interstitials that might air during an NBC broadcast of an NHL game, or a gif lobbed into a social-media post about a telecast on NBCSN.

“It’s a bit of a car wash, if you will,” says Jenny Storms, chief marketing officer of NBC Sports. “Once players get into the sesaon and they are competing, it’s very hard to get their time and get more out of them and talk to them.”

The rush to create a cache of interviews and social-media galleries underscores NBC’s need to establish a deep connection with its sports-league partners. The company doesn’t show every sport, but picks a handful, including Premier League soccer, the National Hockey League, the Tour de France and Nascar, then works to burnish them not only with regular telecasts, but sideline shows and other content. As the exclusive national broadcaster of NHL hockey in the U.S., NBCUniversal broadcasts dozens of games as well as the Stanley Cup tournament. There is no small need for hockey content over the next several months.

Mark Belotti, the coordinating producer for studio programming of NHL on NBC, spent Wednesday in one of the facility’s big studios, supervising televised conversations of various players. Each of the NHL’s 31 teams has sent one or two players to take part in the event, which is being held for the first time on NBC Sports’ home turf. “We get a great amount of time in a relaxed environment to collect material that we will use pretty much throughout the year,” he says.

NBC Sports has utilized this promotional assembly-line elsewhere. In April, the unit assembled nearly 100 of the U.S. Olympic Team’s members, including skier Lindsey Vonn, skater Ashley Wagner and snowboarder Shaun White. The mission: a massive capture of content that can be stored, organized and readies for the company’s coming broadcast of the 2018 Winter Olympics next year from Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Two players said the process is more about helping the overall game than it burnishing their individual goals. Both Larkin and Getzlaf agreed that it helps them to get a chunk of the season’s required promotion taken care of before playing begins in earnest. “That’s the idea – to try and get some of this stuff out of the way when we can still have good shots and be fun and no take away time from our schedules,” said Getzlaf.

The event also offers a window for NBC Sports announcers and analysts like Pierre McGuire, Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick to snare some exclusive time with a good assortment of players. “It’s a great touch,” says McGuire.


More TV

  • The Rook

    'The Rook,' Shondaland, Ted Sarandos Among Programming for SeriesFest 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    The fifth edition of SeriesFest will deliver panels and programming designed to celebrate individual talent as well as companies who are “taking creative risks and leveraging advances in technology to reimagine storytelling.” On the linup is Starz’s upcoming supernatural thriller “The Rook,” a panel with the creatives behind Shondaland, a look at LGBTQ representation on [...]

  • BBC Orders Spoof Talk Show Fronted

    Spoof Talk Show Fronted by an Animated Vladimir Putin Coming to the BBC

    The BBC will air a spoof talk-show fronted by an animated Vladimir Putin. The U.K. pubcaster has ordered two pilot episodes of “Tonight With Vladimir Putin,” a semi-scripted talk show hosted by a CGI representation of the Russian leader. The first guest will be Alistair Campbell, a former high-ranking political spin doctor in the U.K. [...]

  • Upcoming Fantasy Shows Like 'Game of

    10 Upcoming Shows to Watch if You're Mourning 'Game of Thrones'

    Millions of people’s Sunday night routines are ruined now that “Game of Thrones” is over, and there are holes in their hearts as big as the hole in The Wall that are aching for a new fantasy series to fill them. Several prequel series are on their way, but as there’s no word on just [...]

  • Game of Thrones Composer Ramin Djawadi

    'Game of Thrones' Composer Ramin Djawadi: 'I'm Still in Denial'

    Since the first season, Ramin Djawadi has composed the music for “Game of Thrones” and created the epic tunes, including the iconic theme song, heard over the series’ most memorable moments. With the series finished, he talked with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1 about his experience on the show and an upcoming 20-city [...]

  • TUPAC SHAKUR black panther collection

    ‘Defiant Ones’ Director to Helm Docuseries on Tupac, Who Assaulted Him in 1993

    Director Allen Hughes, who helmed the award-winning HBO documentary “The Defiant Ones,” has closed a deal with Tupac Shakur’s estate for a five-part docuseries for which he will have full access to all of the late rapper’s released and unreleased recordings, writings and poetry, according to an announcement from his rep. The announcement says the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content