The Stanley Cup Playoffs don’t face off until Tax Day, but NBC Sports is dropping the promo puck on the air tonight.
Beginning with the March 18 "Rivalry Night" matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Rangers on NBCSN, the programmer will begin pushing the April 15 opening of the postseason with spots that tug at the heart of sports fans. The creative, developed in-house, is the NHL equivalent of a kid catching a foul ball, or getting an autograph and becoming a baseball fan for life.
The ads are the first part of our multi-faceted campaign for the playoffs, which will feature topical spots, scripted work, long-form content, digital and social elements, plus various trade and consumer activations.
“In the past, we used to wait until 48 hours out, or the week before the playoffs began,” said Bill Bergofin, senior vice president of marketing, NBC Sports Group. “But we want to put it out there in interesting ways, and build a relationship leading into the postseason.”
Under the "Don’t Miss a Moment" banner, the first :30, which will premiere tonight on NBCSN, focuses on a young Blackhawks fan, sporting a Patrick Sharp jersey, holding his ticket. The commercial cuts back to the kid walking the concourse with his father. Then, they’re watching Sharp shooting during the warmup. The youngster pounds the glass, Chicago's alternate captain skates over. The moment is sealed, as the player and the youngster touch glove and hand through the glass (pictured).
The voiceover sounds: “A moment is easy to miss, when it happens so fast. But when you catch it, you keep it forever. The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin April 15. Every game. Every night. Don’t miss a moment.”
The final scenes show the logos of the televising networks: NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, NHL Network and USA, which is joining the postseason roster for spillover game coverage in the early rounds. There are also images of players walking to the tunnel high-fiving kids, or raising their sticks. A youngster holds a faux Stanley Cup, while a Washington Capitals supporter treasures his puck. You can watch the spot here.
“With the Blackhawks facing off against the Rangers on Rivalry Night, it was a great opportunity to start with the Sharp spot,” said Bergofin.
Another execution focuses on Capitals star Alex Ovechkin. This time, Dad has his arms around his young sons, adorned in No. 8 sweaters, as they walk down the row to their seats. Fingers on the railing, they look through the glass as the Russian superstar is practicing his passing. In a wide shot, Ovechkin skates toward the trio and tosses a puck over the glass, the younger son grabbing the prize. Check out the :30 here.
“Moments are not only about great plays or goals. They can be about the experiences in the building with the players and with family,” said Bergofin. “The spots also let fans know that we have every game and will have all the moments.”
He noted that there are more player and fans spots that will get off the bench during this facet of the campaign, which will grow more topical as the playoff matchups are set.
Over the course, the various commercials will run across an array of NBCUniversal properties, including general-entertainment leader USA, which is joining the NBC Sports Group team to televise Stanley Cup Playoff games this year.
“We’ll have more information as we get closer to the start of the playoffs,” said a spokesman.