NHL, NBC Sports Group pact on ad sales


Not long after merger of Comcast and NBCU, the NHL and NBC Sports Group announced an agreement on a 10-year television and media rights deal in April, taking the partnership through the 2020-21 season. Now they’ve unveiled (7/11) a sales venture that will streamline national U.S. NHL media sales for the next five years.

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 NHL media sales employees. All traffic generated by official NHL digital sites, including NHL.com, will now be attributed to NBC Sports Digital.

The deal excludes current and future NHL official marketing partners, who will continue to purchase media through the NHL Integrated Sales Department. The new agreement continues through the 2015-16 season.

“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,” said Seth Winter, SVP/NBC Sports Group Sales & 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.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Since NHL games and programming are now almost synonymous with NBCU networks, it makes perfect sense to consolidate the sales effort to one contact point. Offering consistent cross-platform opportunities will also accelerate media buys for those advertisers interested in reaching the NHL fan from many angles. National radio sales and affiliation remains in-house with NHL Radio.