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

  • Dom Delport

    Vice Swings to Profit in the U.K., Eyes International Partnerships

    After a tumultuous period involving harassment scandals, job losses and restructuring, Vice has registered a small profit in the U.K., according to the company’s latest results. The uptick is welcome news for Vice as its new international boss, Dominique Delport, scopes out new production and partnership possibilities for the company’s content business. The U.K. was [...]

  • Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Mocks Former CBS Chief Leslie Moonves on 'Late Show'

    Leslie Moonves was known to take an active dislike of David Letterman making fun of him during that host’s tenure on CBS’ “The Late Show.” He probably isn’t enjoying being mentioned by Stephen Colbert either. Colbert used his monologue on Tuesday’s broadcast to poke fun at the former CBS Corp. CEO, who yesterday learned that [...]

  • Ruth Wilson and Idris Elba'Luther Series

    'Luther' Creator Neil Cross Working on Show's Movie Version, Idris Elba Says

    A movie version of crime series “Luther” is moving forward, with writer-creator Neil Cross working on the script, the show’s star Idris Elba confirmed at the launch of Season 5 in London. “We are really advancing on getting a movie version [of the show] up on the screen,” Elba said. “Neil is beavering away on [...]

  • THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces Midseason Premiere Dates

    In today’s roundup, NBC reveals midseason premiere dates for six shows, including “The Voice.” DATES  NBC has announced midseason premiere dates for four returning and two new series. “The Voice” will air Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m., and March 5 at 8 p.m. It will return April 23 at 8 [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • David Rhodes CBS News

    CBS News Faces New Challenges in Weeks Ahead

    At CBS News, President David Rhodes has a series of important decisions to make that could affect the trajectories of some of TV’s best-known news programs. As its parent company seeks to move forward from recent seismic events – the ouster of its former CEO, Leslie Moonves; a corporate probe into its workplace culture; and [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content