Linemates on-air, NBC Sports Group and the National Hockey League are now teammates in pitching the puck sport's media properties on Madison Avenue.
The parties, which in April inked a 10-year, $2 billion rights deal, have formed an ad sales venture that will streamline U.S. NHL media sales through the 2015-16 season.
NHL media sales for all national platforms -- NBC, Versus, NBCSports.com, NHL Network, NHL mobile, and all official NHL digital sites, including NHL.com -- will be sold by the NBC Sports Group sales department, which will be bolstered by absorbing 14 NHL media sales employees. All traffic generated by official NHL digital sites, including NHL.com, will now be attributed to NBC Sports Digital. Financial terms of this new agreement, which continues through the 2015-16 season, were not disclosed.
The agreement excludes current and future NHL official marketing partnership pacts. Those deals, most of which require the sponsors to express their league affiliation via commercial expression on its myriad outlets, will continue to be negotiated through the NHL's corporate sales department.
It was unclear what percentage of inventory-- although they figure to lay in a significant base for the league overall -- those pacts represent. (See partial list of sponsors below.)
In addition to selling advertisers solely on NHL media properties, NBC Sports Group should open more entry points to NHL properties via its marketplace conversations and negotiations about the programmer's other holdings, notably the NFL and the Olympics.
NBC's old contract, which expired with the 2010-11 NHL campaign, centered on an ad revenue-sharing arrangement.
"Joining forces with NBC enables us to go to the marketplace with unprecedented strength," said NHL COO John Collins. "We'll be able to accelerate the growth of our business by providing our sales talent to the strong sales team at NBC, which is already selling the NHL across NBC and Versus. as well as the Olympics, the Super Bowl and other gold-standard events. This venture creates an efficient, powerful way for us to bring the young, tech-savvy NHL demographic to advertisers across multiple platforms."
"This agreement is the archetype for a sports property and its national media partner, and it speaks to the strength and long-term commitment of our partnership," noted Seth Winter, senior vice president, NBC Sports Group sales and marketing: "Sports marketers will benefit because of the unprecedented single voice that allows them to purchase national network television, cable television and digital media for one major sports property in only one place."
Pepsi Co (including Pepsi, Gatorade, Aquafina, Frito Lay)
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority