By Barry Janoff
July 29, 2015: Sports fans in the Boston area, challenged (and annoyed) with the ongoing situation regarding the NFL's New England Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady and "Deflategate" — as well as the response (both pro and con) of no longer being consider as a potential host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics — were given some good news by the NHL.
The league said that Gillette Stadium, home of the Patriots would host the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and that the hometown Bruins would face the Montreal Canadiens in the outdoor game scheduled for Jan. 1, 2016.
The news coincided with the NHL signing a deal that extends Bridgestone's role as title sponsor for the Winter Classic and the brand's involvement in other league activations for five seasons.
Bridgestone is the official tire of the NHL and the NHL Players' Assn.
Financial terms were not released.
The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic would be Bridgestone's seventh consecutive year as title sponsor of the event. PepsiCo's AMP Energy was title sponsor of the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008 before Bridgestone took over.
This will be the first outdoor game in Gillette Stadium but the second in the area: Fenway Park hosted the Winter Classic in 2010.
The NHL will also stage two other outdoor games this coming season under its Coors Light Stadium Series umbrella: the Chicago Blackhawks at the host Minnesota Wild in TCF Bank Stadium (Feb. 21, 2016) and the Detroit Red Wings at the Colorado Avalanche in Denver's Coors Field (Feb. 27).
"The partnership with the National Hockey League aligns the Bridgestone brand with a premier sports league and very loyal fan base, and it represents an important piece of Bridgestone's commitment to sports," Phil Pacsi, vp-sports/events marketing and training for Bridgestone Americas, said in a statement.
Bridgestone said that the extended deal would come with expanded marketing support.
For the 2016 Winter Classic, Bridgestone said activation would include on-air rights from NHL broadcast partners NBC, Rogers and TVA Sports, branded promotion in NBC programming; logo dasherboard placements in Gillette Stadium and integration of the Bridgestone brand throughout all NHL media properties, including video, print, online and radio.
In addition, Bridgestone said it plans to "expand its league support with partnerships with NHL teams, building its presence on the local level as well as the national level."
Bridgestone marketing also will see "significant media commitment, including promotions across the NHL's media platforms such as NHL.com, NHL Social and NHL Mobile" and national consumer ad campaigns.
According to Keith Wachtel, evp-global partnerships for the NHL, "We are proud of our longstanding relationship with Bridgestone. Bridgestone has helped elevate the NHL Winter Classic into one of the most-anticipated events, not only of the NHL season but on the big event calendar. Sports fans can expect many more years of exciting and innovative activations across League platforms from Bridgestone."
Among other sports alliances, Bridgestone is an official Top Tier partner with the International Olympic Committee, its title sponsor for the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and has naming rights to Bridgestone Arena, home to the NHL's Nashville Predators.
"We have seen tremendous results from both the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and our season-long NHL activation," said Pacsi. "With this new agreement, we will continue to leverage this partnership to showcase our, and the NHL's, commitment to performance and innovation."
Bridgestone Signs As TOP Tier Partner With IOC
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