P.K. Subban is best known for his work on the ice on behalf of the Nashville Predators. But if NBC Sports and the National Hockey League defenseman have their way, he might gain some notoriety for his performance on solid ground.
NBC Sports this evening will launch “The P.K. Project,” a multi-episode digital series featuring the three-time NHL All-Star, via NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and the NBC Sports YouTube channel. Viewers can see Subban’s hometown and even some interactions with country musician Lee Brice. New episodes will launch each Wednesday. As part of a broader agreement between NBC Sports and Subban, cable sports outlet NBCSN will launch one-hour late night talk show hosted by Subban on Friday, Jan. 25 11:30 p.m. eastern immediately following the conclusion of the 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills competition.
NBC Sports and Subban earlier this month struck a content deal, the first time the NBCUniversal unit has entered into a content agreement with an active NHL player. NBC Sports executives noticed during a broadcast of the last Stanley Cup Finals that Subban, who was offering analysis, “how well he plays within the medium,”says Sam Flood, executive producer and president of production for NBC Sports and NBCSN, in an interview. “We are optimistic that there is more to come.” The deal is the first for Subban’s production company, PeeK Productions.
NBC’s pact was unveiled just a few weeks after Disovery struck a content deal with star golfer Tiger Woods. The multi-year agreement that will weave content crafted with the golfing legend part of the company’s soon-to-launch golf-focused streaming service, part of a joint venture with the PGA Tour. Woods is expected to help produce and conceive of content that will give fans a sense of everything from his practice routines to life on the road.
One of the conditions of the agreement is that NBC Sports will continue to cover the athlete, no matter what happens to him from game to game. “It is one of the processes we had to go through,” notes Flood. “If P.K. gets suspended from the game for a couple of days, or if something bad happens on the ice, we are not treating you any differently because we are doing this series. The same commentary has to go on. He is aware of that.”
Setting up the programs with Subban illustrates new thinking around how to extend NBCU’s relationship with the NHL. In April of 2011, NBC Sports struck a ten-year deal with the league, said to be valued at more than $2 billion, that gives the media company exclusive national rights to many regular season games as well as rights to increased coverage of Stanley Cup games. The deal is slated to end after the 2020-2021 season.
“It’s important for us and the NHL to grow the stars of the game, and this is one important step,” says Flood. NBC Sports has launched a separate digital series, “Off The Ice with Kathryn Tappen”, which features out-of-the-rink exchanges between players and sideline reporter Kathryn Tappen. “We hope to break that barrier down a little bit and allow the audience to build a bigger and better relationship with all of the athletes that play in the NHL,” says Flood.