By Barry Janoff
November 21, 2013: On Friday, Nov. 29, NBC will broadcast the Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown.
On Friday, Nov. 29, retailers nationwide will open their doors for "Black Friday," generally regarded as the biggest shopping day of the year.
Good news for the NHL, NBC and their marketing partners: 73% of hockey fans said they plan to watch the Boston Bruins host the New York Rangers, and another 9% said they plan to record the game while they shop and watch it later.
Of course, there are those hockey fans who will be eyeing deals rather than hockey skills: 11% said they plan to shop and miss the game completely, according to a survey conducted by Discover Financial.
And what if the Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown would be moved to Thanksgiving Day? Some 48% of hockey fans said they would be willing to hold off on the turkey, gravy and sides if they had a chance to see their favorite NHL team play live.
The NHL and NBC have been supporting the New York-Boston game with a multi-media campaign. The effort is being anchored by TV spots in which former Rangers star Mike Richter and ex-Bruins standout Cam Neely compete with each other while intensifying the emotions of family members and others who loyalties but them on opposite sides of the ice, including one that turns a Thanksgiving dinner into a melee. (See full spot here.)
"Getting into debates with extended family members during the holidays - especially among passionate sports fans – is an insight about Thanksgiving that everyone can relate to," Brian Jennings, CMO for the NHL, said in a statement. "Inserting the intensity of the Bruins-Rangers rivalry into the spirit of a family Thanksgiving was irresistible. It reinforces the game's positioning as a holiday and family event."
The Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown, which launched in 2011 but was a victim of last year's lockout, will feature ads from numerous NHL marketing partners, including Geico, McDonald's, Bridgestone, Gatorade, Verizon and Honda. The NHL and NBC will also tout upcoming events such as the Bridgestone Winter Classic, the Coors Light Stadium Series and the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The fact that the Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown features long-time league rivals is helping to drive interest.
According to the Discover survey, 75% of hockey fans are either somewhat or much more likely to watch or attend a rivalry game versus a non-rivalry game. Only 25% said they would watch a game regardless of the matchup.
In addition, 37% of hockey fans think the historical significance between teams is the most important factor in determining an NHL rivalry, 25% said geographic proximity while 13% cited the number of times a pair of teams met in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Good news for the NHL: 73% of hockey fans said they plan to watch the Boston Bruins host the New York Rangers, and another 9% will record the game.
When it comes to specific confrontations, 31% of those surveyed said the Chicago Blackhawks versus the Detroit Red Wings is the NHL’s best rivalry. Coming in second place was the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers with 17%. The Rangers-Bruins finished third with 16%.
Discover said that the survey was conducted among 800 people who said their were fans of the NHL from Nov. 12-14, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. Interviews were conducted both over the phone and with an online panel.
NHL NBC Ad Campaign Gets Bobby Farrelly For Discover Thanksgiving Showdown
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