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NOTES: NHL Meets Phineas and Ferb, Versus Name Change, Lalime Joins RDS

22 Jul

It’s the weekend and after a wild week of announcements, it’s a good time to slow down and catch up on some notes from the past week.

NHL EXCHANGE & DISNEY LICENSING DEAL

For those who don’t know, the NHL Exchange is the NHL’s major retail merchandising convention.  The 6th Annual show was held on July 20 and 21 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. At the trade show, NHL licensees, retailers and sales representatives get together for meetings, sales deals and previews of upcoming merchandising for the new season.  The NHL is on the heels of a record breaking year when it comes to merchandising and that leads to some peculiar licensing deals.  One bizarre one was announced this week with Disney.  From the press release:

The National Hockey League (NHL) and Disney Consumer Products have revealed plans to co-brand merchandise featuring characters from Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning animated series, Phineas and Ferb, in the 2011-12 NHL season. The NHL made the announcement today at the 2011 NHL Exchange licensed products and retail trade show inside the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The Disney and the NHL collection will include apparel, headwear, house and home products and collectibles featuring characters from Phineas and Ferb wearing NHL and team-branded merchandise. NHL and Disney licensees will deliver the new products to retail stores throughout North America in fall 2011, just in time for the new school year and the 2011-12 NHL season.

“The Phineas and Ferb brand evokes creativity, youthfulness and high energy, not unlike the NHL brand,” said Jim Haskins, Group Vice President, Consumer Product Licensing. “The NHL is thrilled to be working with such a premier Disney property as nearly one third of NHL fans are between the ages of six and 17, and 65 percent of those fans watch the Disney Channel.”

“Just like the game of hockey, Phineas and Ferb is successful because it appeals to a diverse demographic—kids and grown-ups, boys and girls,” said Stephen Teglas, vice president and general manager of Fashion & Home North America at Disney Consumer Products. “We look forward to bringing the humor of the series to NHL fans with a fun campaign at arenas and through clever products that showcase our two brands. It also seems like the kind of adventure that Phineas and Ferb would imagine.”

I never thought those two went together but good for the NHL! What’s next, Spongebob merchandise?  It’s certainly an interesting combination and hopefully we’ll see some NHL themed products in non-traditional places like the Disney Store.  Of course, Disney and the league have a long history with ESPN and the Anaheim franchise. Also, the league announced a renewal of it’s deal with Franklin Sports to produce street hockey gear.  For some more info on what the exchange is and what went on there, check out the links and the videos from The Hockey News and NHL.com below.

VERSUS ON TRACK TO ANNOUNCE NEW NAME SOON

Sports Business Journal had a story last month about Versus delaying their name change to 2012 and we now get more confirmation on this in an interview by the Albany Times-Union’s Pete Dougherty.  In the story, Dougherty interviews NBC programming president Jon Miller and says that the name should come in the next couple of weeks.  Miller makes clear in the story that they plan on making Versus an alternative to ESPN and not with an eye on being the next ESPN.

While the name change delay may seem odd, it’s largely for marketing reasons.  In the case of Versus, most of their viewership comes from hockey.  To maximize publicity and value in a branding campaign, you need eyeballs, and the NHL brings them.  Unfortunately, the summer months are relatively dead for Versus outside of the Tour de France and IndyCar racing.  Waiting until the network’s flagship programming starts up is probably a good idea long term.  This way, hockey fans will learn of the branding change through aggressive advertising campaigns.  When OLN became Versus, the re-branding campaign was started during the Stanley Cup playoffs for promotional purposes.  The actual name change to Versus came right as the 2006 NHL season started up.

LALIME JOINS RDS

RDS is in the process of making several changes to it’s broadcasts.  One sees Marc Denis replacing Benoit Brunet as lead analyst and now they are adding another retired goalie.  Patrick Lalime has decided to take the Kevin Weekes route and has retired to join RDS as an analyst.  Lalime’s main duties will be as an game analyst for 15 Ottawa Senators telecasts.  In addition, he will be featured on various panels and shows on RDS.

Sources and More Info:

Phineas and Ferb Hit the Ice with NHL Merchandising Deal – Stitch Kingdom.com.

Get your Leafs hospital scrubs here! NHL trade show hits ACC – thestar.com.

NHL, Franklin Sports Celebrate 20-Year Partnership With Multi-Year License Renewal To Produce Franklin NHL Street™ Hockey Gear.

The Hockey News: Special Features: VIDEO: Throwback merchandise all the rage at NHL gear show.

NHL Exchange kicks off in Toronto Video – NHL VideoCenter.

‘Versus’ name will be retired at end of year – Sports Media – Sports media news – timesunion.com – Albany NY.

P. Lalime se retire et se joint à RDS – RDS.ca.

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