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Snapchat Expands NHL Pact to Add Hockey Highlights, Curated Stories

Snapchat is adding more action from the ice under a new multiyear deal with the National Hockey League.

The NHL, in association with Disney Streaming Services, is delivering a new weekly highlights show on Snapchat recapping the top 10 plays of the previous week and will produce Curated Our Stories on the platform for select games and marquee events — making the NHL the first pro sports league to use Snap’s third-party curation tools. The league’s content will be available to Snapchat users worldwide.

The NHL is doubling down on Snapchat because it sees unusually high engagement on the platform, particularly among users under 30. Snap reported 186 million average daily users for Snapchat for Q4 2018.

“What’s special about Snapchat is their users skew younger,” said NHL chief marketing officer Heidi Browning. The pact with Snap is “an important way for us to connect with our core fans but also to reach new fans…. Snap is always innovating, and they recognize that the generation that uses their products demands new feature sets.”

The expanded NHL-Snap partnership again includes Bitmoji outfits for all 31 of the league’s teams, letting Snapchat users dress their cartoon avatars with their favorite team’s colors, as well as Geofilters for every team’s home arena to add custom stickers to their Snapchat posts.

The NHL sees fans sharing millions of images on Snapchat every day, according to Browning, who declined to provide specific stats. “The total [number of] images shared on Snap relative to other platforms would blow your mind,” she said. “It’s a big and active audience that’s different from other platforms.”

“NHL Highlights,” which will hit Snapchat’s Discover each Wednesday, is produced by Disney Streaming Services. The series takes advantage of the digital rights held by Disney Streaming Services, which operates the flagship NHL app and NHL.TV out-of-market subscription-streaming package in partnership with the league. DSS has an advertising revenue-sharing agreement with Snap for the NHL content.

Also under the expanded pact, the NHL will produce a minimum of 15 Curated Stories per season with video and photos culled from publicly submitted user Snaps. The NHL’s Curated Stories will launch Saturday, Feb. 23, with the Stadium Series game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins at Philly’s Lincoln Financial Field.

“Curated Stories allows us to combine every aspect of the hockey experience – including behind-the-scenes exclusives, intermittent highlights, and fan submissions,” Browning said.

In addition, a team of Snapchat editors will produce Our Story coverage of NHL games and tentpole events (a minimum of six stories per season), including All-Star Weekend and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hockey fans also can follow the NHL on Snapchat and watch the NHL’s Stories for a behind-the-scenes look at all the action.

“We want Snapchat to be the best place on mobile to keep up with the NHL,” Juan Borrero, Snap’s head of sports partnerships, said in a statement. “The NHL has been a tremendous partner that continues to innovate, and we’re thrilled they’ll be taking advantage of all our offerings to deliver Snapchatters the ultimate fan experience.”

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