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Notes on NHL Territories and Sponsorships

03 Sep

It’s a holiday weekend here in the States but there’s some interesting news from the past week that should be noted. First up, let’s get to some news on NHL territories

ATLANTA TO GET CANES & PREDS ON TV

Since the Atlanta Thrashers are no more, that television market was up for grabs. Atlanta always struggled to gain viewership but it’s a large market and it shouldn’t be ignored. Nashville is the most obvious team to get the territory and they will get 40 games on the air there through Fox Sports South and SportSouth. But the Preds won’t have the territory to themselves, as the Hurricanes will also get to air 40 games in the market according to Canes beat writer Luke Decock. Decock also says that the Canes are looking into holding a preseason game in Atlanta next year. The Predators have also reached out to former Thrashers season ticket holders, trying to lure them to town.

WINNIPEG’S BROADCAST TERRITORY

There’s been lots of talk about the Jets and their broadcast territory and how it overlaps with Calgary and Edmonton. The three teams will share Saskatchewan, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Jets games will be blacked out in Alberta while Flames and Oilers games will be blacked out in Manitoba outside of national broadcasts and Centre Ice. As for Northwestern Ontario, it appears that Winnipeg will share that with Ottawa and Toronto as both Ontario teams claim it as part of their broadcast territories.

SPONSOR NEWS IN COLUMBUS, VANCOUVER AND NEW YORK & THE BEER WAR

While this blog mainly focuses on hockey media, I try to include some business stuff as well, especially sponsor deals. Everyone knows that the Columbus Blue Jackets are having some financial issues but there’s a new buzz in the air with their new players. This has helped translate to a boost in ticket sales and renewals with several large sponsors. Columbus Business First reports that the Jackets have renewed deals with Coldwell Banker King Thompson, Columbia Gas of Ohio and Medical Mutual of Ohio. The article mentions that several more deals are on the way and that the team will meet its target for sponsorships for the upcoming season.

Over in Vancouver, the Canucks are losing a large sponsor. The Vancouver Sun is reporting that BC Ferries is dropping their Canucks sponsorship. BC Ferries has sponsored the team for years but not without controversy as the company is publicly owned and they have refused to reveal how much they have spent on the sponsorship and on seats for Canuck games.

Meanwhile, the New York Islanders might have just signed the oddest sponsorship deal in the league. CNBC’s Darren Rovell reports that the Isles have inked a deal with Tattoo Lou’s to be the official tattoo shop of the team. The deal will put two tattoo artists and one piercer inside the Nassau Coliseum during 10 games. It’s the second odd deal for the Isles as the Isles had an official cupcake shop last season. The tattoo deal ranks up there with the San Jose Sharks and Bad Boys Bail Bonds as perhaps the oddest partnership in the league. Bad Boys has had dasher ads in San Jose and has sponsored some giveaways.

And finally, I’ve brought up the NHL official beer sponsor litigation several times and yes, it’s still going on. Last week, the parties were back in court and even NHL executive Bill Daly was on hand for the proceedings. The Toronto Star has a story on the latest court hearing and says Molson Coors is moving ahead with their plans to be the sponsor for the new season. It’s amazing that this case is dragging on so close to the start of the season and you have to wonder how much it will affect the league and it’s partners when it comes to advertising and marketing.

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