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The Growth Continues

NEW YORK (November 8, 2010) –  Fueled by an unprecedented number of digital product introductions spanning broadband, mobile and social media, the NHL’s digital strategy continued to deliver new milestones of fan engagement in October, the National Hockey League announced today. Mobile downloads, NHL GameCenter LIVE subscriptions, Facebook fans and NHL.com traffic from around the world have all reached new heights, further evidence of the strong global demand for NHL content and the League’s reach and distribution. 

      The League continues to see growth across traditional platforms including ratings and merchandise sales for the first month of the season. Highlights from around the business include:

NHL Mobile

          The League’s strong mobile performance has been led by the introduction of more than 25 new digital products in the marketplace and the NHL’s young, affluent, tech-savvy fan base, following their favorite players and teams wherever they may be.

•    In the first month of the season there have been more than 500,000 downloads (free and paid) of NHL GameCenter through strategic mobile partnerships including Verizon, Bell, Apple, Google, Nokia and RIM.
•    Page Views to the NHL.com mobile website increased 48% for the month of October year-over-year
•    The GameCenter iPhone app is currently ranked No. 1 in the sports category in Canada, where it has held that position 2 out of the 4 weeks it has been in the marketplace.  It has head one of the top 3 positions in this category for the first four weeks of availability in the marketplace in the U.S.*
•    The GameCenter iPad app is currently No. 1 in the sports category in the Canada (free and paid), and No. 4 with the free app and No. 5 for the paid app in the U.S.*
•    Outside of North America, the GameCenter iPhone app has held the No. 1 position among sports apps in Finland since its inception, and was No. 1 in Slovakia 3 out of the 5 weeks of its availability.*

(*Source: iTunes Top Charts)

NHL GameCenter LIVE

      The League continues to serve fans’ demand of NHL hockey with a robust offering of out-of-market games through its premium streaming service NHL GameCenter LIVE: 

•    NHL GCL subscriptions are up 25 percent season-to-date compared to the same time period last year.

NHL on Facebook

      The NHL has reached one million fans on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/NHL), strong validation of the NHL’s ambitious syndication strategy to shorten the distance between the League and its fans. Importantly for the League, fans of the NHL on Facebook tend to visit NHL.com more than other fans, spend more time on the site, view more videos and consume more stories.


Through first 24 days of the NHL season, the following were up compared to the same time period last season:

•    Unique Visitors (UVs) are up 29 percent
•    Page Views are up 27 percent
•    Visits have increased by 15 percent
•    Video starts are up 155 percent
•    Articles read are up 77 percent
•    Video starts up 155 percent

For all of October:

•    UVs from Canada is up 14 percent, from the United States up 26 percent, Finland 64 percent, Sweden 19 percent and Germany 18 percent.

      NHL Cable Partners Nationally and Locally Seeing Strong Growth

•    Through the week ending Oct. 31, VERSUS has seen an 18 percent increase in total households and a 12 percent increase in viewership for its exclusive NHL telecasts, resulting in the best opening month of the NHL in network history.
•    TSN’s Wednesday Hockey NHL telecasts are up 24 percent compared to last year’s season average.
•    Ratings have been strong via regional sports networks in the U.S. The markets experiencing double digit percentage ratings increases through Oct. 31 are: Los Angeles (+100 percent), Chicago (+75 percent), New York Islanders (50%), St. Louis (+43 percent) Tampa Bay (+33 percent), Washington (23%), Edmonton (17%) and Boston (15%)

NHL Merchandise in Global Demand

Season-to-date, NHL merchandise has seen the following increases for the month of October over the same time period last year:

•    North American retail sales and in-area per caps are both up 9 percent
•    Sales at the NHL Powered By Reebok store are up 13 percent
•    Apparel sales are up 22 percent, and Electronic Games are up 27 percent.
•    Last week the Shop.NHL.com experienced a 26 percent increase in sales over the same period in 2009.

      New Partnerships Increase Distribution, Reach

    In the lead-up to the start of the season, the NHL made a trio of significant announcements.  The NHL and HBO outlined plans for a new series leading into the NHL’s New Year’s Day outdoor game, “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic,” a four-episode all-access series which chronicles the two fierce rivals. The NHL also became the first professional sports league with a dedicated presence on Foursquare, one of the leading social media innovators.  And the League also has partnered with Stan Lee on The Guardian Project, a new franchise from the legendary comic book creator that will incorporate the identities of all 30 NHL teams into superheroes. 

      2009-10 NHL Business: Best Year on Record

    Despite difficult global economic conditions, in 2009-10 the NHL posted its fourth-consecutive year of strong business growth, engaging with a record number of fans. The League generated record television ratings during the playoffs, saw triple digit increases across its digital platforms, added sponsors and experienced a 66 percent increase in advertising and sponsorship revenue, set merchandising sales records during the Stanley Cup Final and played to 102 percent of arena capacity for the postseason.

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Alan's avatar

The NHL has also released Gamecenter applications for the Android phone platform.

Recently, I inquired as to why I could only find the free application on the Android market, when the website states differently.


NHL GAMECENTER 2010 is free to Verizon Wireless customers for the 2010 season including the complete post season and Stanley Cup finals. NHL GAMECENTER Premium is $19.99 and NHL GAMECENTER Live is $79.95.

NHL GAMECENTER 2010, NHL GAMECENTER 2010 Premium, and NHL GAMECENTER Live are available on the Android Market.

To me, this is pretty clear. The applications are “available on the Android Market.”

However, when I inquired about it, this is the response I got:

I think you have it backwards. The free app is available on every
carrier, but the premium and live apps are only available if you are a
Verizon Wireless customer
. If you are on another carrier, the apps
will not appear in Android market because you are not authorized to
access them.

Why is it that the premium and live versions are “Verizon only?” Did Verizon buy off the NHL, thereby securing exclusive rights to the applications? Because this doesn’t really make sense any other way.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 11/08/10 at 01:48 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Why is it that the premium and live versions are “Verizon only?” Did Verizon buy off the NHL, thereby securing exclusive rights to the applications? Because this doesn’t really make sense any other way.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 11/08/10 at 11:48 AM ET

So much for trying to “expand” into the US market.  For all the bluster about the growth of the game and trying to become a true mainstream sport in the US, the NHL’s front office seems quite intent on keeping it a niche market with all of these exclusive deals.  Expand the program to other carriers, dammit.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 11/08/10 at 02:50 PM ET

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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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