NHL Looks To Net More Online, Out-Of-Market Package Sales

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The National Hockey League expects to see a 200% boost in sales of its enhanced online live, out-of-market game package this season, according to NHL senior vice president of data base and marketing Perry Cooper.

While not revealing how many subscribers purchased a similar broadband out-of-market package last year, Cooper told Multichannel News that the league is very bullish on its sales prospects for its enhanced video streaming package.  

The league’s "NHL GameCenter Live" -- part of a re-designed NHL.com site -- will stream as many as 40 live games a week -- and as many as four games at one time -- for a suggested retail price of $169, according to Cooper. Subscribers to the league’s $169 "NHL Center Ice" cable and satellite service will receive a discount off the streaming video offering.

“We have a low base line of subscribers in an atmosphere where there is strong demand, so that points to a potential success,” he said. “But it doesn’t happen without everything being aligned, so having a strong digital strategy and a satisfying Web experience will be critical, because that’s gong to be the funnel to take content to the notion of transitional content.”

The NHL and Major League Baseball are the only two major sports leagues to offer an online live-game package, exclusive of their respective linear pay-per-view, out-of-market offerings. Subscribers have to purchase the National Basketball Association’s "NBA League Pass" and National Football League’s "Sunday Ticket" linear services before they can access those sports' live game streaming packages.   

In addition, GameCenter Live will also feature one game each night in which viewers can watch from different camera angles.

Along with the live-game component, NHL.com is also partnering with Yahoo! Sports to develop a co-branded premium fantasy sports game. The fantasy game, which will exist on both Yahoo! and NHL.com, will feature enhanced statistics, video highlights, according to the league.

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