By Barry Janoff
May 24, 2016: Thanks to increased activation from the likes of Reebok, Anheuser-Busch, Geico and DraftKings, and renewed and expanded deals with other partners, the NHL is projected to hit a record $477 million in sponsorship spending in 2015-16, up 6.7% from $447 million last season.
That would also be more than $100 million over the league partner spend in 2011-2012, according to research and consulting firm IEG, Chicago.
IEG said the increase "reflects the growing popularity of hockey as a marketing platform."
It also exceeds IEG’s projected 4.5% increase in overall sponsorship spending and 5% increase in overall sports spending.
Sponsorship spend in 2013-2014 was $409 million, $390 million in 2012-2013 and $373 million in 2011-2012.
The 2015-16 figure still puts the NHL fourth among the big four sports in the U.S.
NFL sponsorship spend was $1.2 billion last season, MLB reached $778 million and the NBA hit $739 million last season.
Worldwide sponsorship spend in motorsports topped $5.3 billion last year, golf was at $1.7 billion and tennis was at $739 million, per IEG.
Quick-service restaurants topped the list of the most active categories, according to the IEG NHL Sponsorship Spend Report, with QSR's 4.8 times "more likely to sponsor the NHL than the average of all sponsors."
The Top Ten categories also include auto (4.1), medical (3.9), insurance (3.8), beer (3.5), media (3.2), banks (2.9), lottery and gaming (2.9), non-alcoholic beverages (2.7) and food (2.6).
The media and lottery/gaming categories, led by the arrival of a league-wide and team deals with daily fantasy sports firm DraftKings, moved into the Top Ten list in the 2015-2016 season, displacing sports apparel and telecommunications.
The NHL has a league-wide deal with Reebok, making it the most active alliance. Parent company adidas will replace Reebok in 2017-18 as the league's exclusive outfitter of on-ice uniforms and official supplier of licensed apparel and headwear.
Adidas also becomes the exclusive outfitter of both authentic and replica jerseys for the eight-team World Cup of Hockey this September.
Anheuser-Busch, which is aligned with 71% of the league's team, replaced Enterprise Holdings (65%) as the most active non-endemic sponsor, with Enterprise falling to fourth behind Geico (68%).
The Top Ten most active NHL sponsors also includes Toyota (61%), TicketMaster (61%), MillerCoors (55%), PepsiCo (52%), Coca-Cola (41%) and DraftKings (42%), which in its second season with the NHL joined the Top Ten most active sponsors list for the first time.
Enterprise dropped five teams while DraftKings added eight new deals this season, according to the IEG NHL Sponsorship Spend Report.
Among other deals this past year, Bridgestone the official tire of the NHL and the NHL Players' Assn. extended its role as title sponsor for the Winter Classic and the brand's involvement in other league activations for five seasons.
In May, the league extended and enhanced its alliance with Discover through 2019, keeping the firm as the NHL's official credit card and official payment service partner. title sponsor for the NHL on NBC’s broadcast of the NHL Thanksgiving Showdown Game and co-branded float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and participant in jewel events including the All-Star Game and outdoor games.
According to Jennifer Murillo, vp-brand communications for Discover, “The NHL is a great partner that allows us to reach our customers. With our new agreement we (have been) able to deliver even more of what our customers want.”
"The increase reflects the growing popularity of hockey as a marketing platform (and) exceeds IEG’s projected 5% increase in overall sports spending."
In August, the league unveiled a six-year digital media rights partnership between the NHL and Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the technical arm of MLB, that is expected to enhance user experience across the league's digital platforms, including GameCenter Live, NHL Center Ice, NHL Network and NHL.com. The deal also provides for an equity share for the NHL in a new tech company to be launched by MLBAM.
Among NHL teams, the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs have what IEG said are sponsorship deals above the league average.
Teams below the league average in sponsorship deals include the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Prediators, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets.
Team at the league average in sponsorship deals include the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lighting, Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals.
Back to Home Page