Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK (December 6, 2011) – During the first quarter of the regular season, the National Hockey League (NHL) introduced a number of new initiatives, experienced record consumption across digital, broadcast and retail platforms while introducing a number of new initiatives and securing a number of agreements with new and existing corporate partners.
“We are continuing to offer new and enhanced ways for our fans to engage, consume and interact with NHL hockey,” said John Collins, NHL chief operating officer. “It is this consistent emphasis on innovation and productive partnerships that has sustained the growth and momentum the League has been experiencing over the past six years.”
The NHL’s SVP of corporate sales and marketing—Keith Wachtel—spoke on a marketing panel this morning. Here are some of his comments via Karl Greenberg of Marketing Daily (MediaPost.com):
“Mobile is where things are taking place,” said Wachtel. “If a person is watching on TV, he’s doing it on iPad, too; he’s on mobile. Or he’s buying and sharing it on Shazam. Our fans are young, tech-savvy high earners.”
He added that the days of big sports leagues letting fans find them are over. “It’s us finding them, because they won’t go to NHL.com; they are more likely to look for NHL content on sites like ESPN,” he said. “So we have had to change our model: If you want our content, we will give it to you because at the end of the day, the platform shouldn’t matter. The younger demographic is always changing where they are, using social, not traditional sites. The question is where are they? You have to find them before pulling them into the brand.”
Also interesting were some points about the nature of NHL fan loyalty and of the realistic potential size of the NHL audience. Wachtel said the goal is not to grow the fan base since hockey has geographic limits other sports don’t (“If you can go outside and play the sport there, we’ll be big there,” he said), but to create the kind of league-level loyalty among fans that other sports enjoy, not just team-level loyalty.
“We are fourth of the big four and our fans are the most passionate of all sports partly because it’s a smaller fan base. But while we have avid fans, most of our fans are tribal.”
From Mac Engel at the Toronto Star:
“I learned a big lesson: It’s not a partnership. It’s their league, and you are going to play when they want,” he said.
Today, Guerin has hindsight and his experience serves as a giant caution to any player who thinks losing a game, much less an entire season, to this lockout is a good idea. His message is simple: Get what you can; start playing; you are not going to win what you think.
“It is not worth it to any of them to burn games or to burn an entire year. Burning a year was ridiculous,” Guerin said. “It wasn’t worth me giving up $9 million a year, or 82 games plus the playoffs, then having a crappy year and being bought out. ... Guys in the NBA making $15 million or however much better think long and hard about this.”
Earlier today the NHL announced a deal which will allow games to be broadcast in the Nordic region of Europe. David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail looks closer at that deal, and provides a bit of background:
The problem started when the NHL, figuring it could make lots more money from European television, did not renew its deal with ESPN America when it expired after last season. The U.S. cable television giant was the only carrier for all European countries.
Instead, the NHL formed a partnership with two companies, Medge Consulting and Advisers Media International. Neither company owns television networks or stations but both were to act as third parties selling the NHL rights in Europe, Africa and the Middle East to a variety of television networks.
This meant the NHL went from a single outlet in those regions, ESPN, to different outlets in almost every country, which also meant negotiating multiple deals. Naturally, the process dragged on and now only the Nordic countries have the games on TV and other European and Russian fans are steaming.
via Slam Sports:
NHL hockey teams need to keep an eye on Canada’s changing demographics, as new immigrants and an aging population boost the popularity of games such as soccer and baseball, the Conference Board of Canada said in a report.
It is the latest in a Conference Board series called Playing in the Big League, which looks at what it takes for a professional sports team to make money.
All professional sports leagues need to be aware of how demographics and consumer tastes are evolving in their markets, the report said.
From Tom Van Riper at Forbes:
Forbes estimates that league wide revenue grew 29% from 2006 to 2010, to a total of $2.93 billion. That trend would put the league on course to meet Commissioner Gary Bettman’s post-lockout goal to surpass $3 billion. Lacking NBA or MLB-type cable money, NHL clubs fuel a big chunk of their growth both at the gate and through a digital strategy that has yielded increasingly popular content on NHL Network, NHL.com and NHL Mobile.
“We felt we needed a halo on top of the local markets,” says John Collins, the NHL’s Chief Operating Officer. Charging $169 for the season to give fans access to any game on any night, the league’s subscription fees and ad sales from its digital business now account for 60% of national revenue (that money secured by the league over and above individual franchise revenue derived locally). “Over the past five years we’ve transformed ourselves from a licensing company into a media company,” says Collins of the NHL’s decision to build out its own media platforms itself instead of simply licensing the rights.
Hockey fans could see modifications around the goal net before the puck is officially dropped on the 2011-12 NHL regular season.
The NHL Board of Governors met in New York on Tuesday and received conditional approval for the use of the verification line; a three-and-a-quarter inch line that sits behind the goalline.
The Board also received conditional approval to use thin mesh along the top of the net and a plastic skirt along the bottom.
From Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo! Sports:
He wasn’t rattling a saber as he said it. He wasn’t banging a fist on the table. He was calmly answering a question with a matter-of-fact statement. Still, with the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association expiring one year from today, he spoke volumes.
“The players made an awful lot of concessions in the last agreement,” NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said over breakfast recently in a Manhattan hotel. “It’s pretty hard to see them being willing to do that again.”
According to reports, the Dallas Stars will file for bankruptcy and sell the club at an auction.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that owner Tom Hicks’ plan to file for bankruptcy—as early as Wednesday—as a means to start the auction process has been approved by the majority of the team’s creditors, according to a source familiar with the plan.
It is expected that once the Stars enter into the auction phase, investor Tom Gaglardi, chairman and chief executive officer of Sandman Hotels, Inns & Suites, would be the lead bidder for the team, according to the story. Other potential buyers could then make bids until a final price is reached.
NEW YORK (September 12, 2011) ─ The National Hockey League® (NHL) today announced that American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has renewed as League partner in the United States in the automotive category. The three-year agreement includes returning participation and activations at NHL events, such as NHL Winter Classic and NHL All-Star Weekend, with increased presence around NHL Awards and NHL Draft.
Honda will return as the presenting sponsor for the NHL SuperSkills event and NHL All-Star MVP Award for the next two NHL All-Star Weekends that are held in the U.S., through which Honda will receive exposure via in-ice placements, dasherboard branding, in-arena spots, and presence at the accompanying fan festivals.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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