Published September 23, 2008
|NHL Tomorrow To Launch Public
Beta Of Redesigned Web Site
The NHL tomorrow will release a public beta of its dramatically redesigned NHL.com, the second part of a major two-step digital reworking that began in April with the NHL Network Online video portal. The new site, marking the second major revamp of NHL.com since '06, involved a 10-month development effort overseen by a large collection of league personnel led by John Collins, Andre Mika, Larry Gelfand and Perry Cooper; California-based interactive marketing firm AKQA; and NeuLion. The new look, utilizing a darker motif dubbed “black ice,” employs a predictably heavy use of video content, Getty still photos, and user-generated content. Navigation and search functions were completely rebuilt, and NHL executives are also vowing a more assertive editorial voice. “This is such a big change, a massive change really,” said Mika, NHL VP/Broadband & New Media. “The video content we began with in the spring was the start our actually programming to our fans. This is the next huge step where we’ve got a full destination hockey fans will feel they’re going to get a lot out of it.” Other areas greatly expanded in the new site include historical data and statistics, much of which has been tagged with relevant video, and fantasy content in part through a new deal with Yahoo Sports.
LOW-RISK MOVE: The NHL said that its TV revenues are "so much smaller than those of giants like the NFL that it has the freedom to experiment with online video without the risk of angering its television partners." Collins: "We're not encumbered by big national rights." Collins added that "aggressive moves in digital ... are 'essential to our success.'" The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Stephanie Kang reports the league "plans to charge online subscribers a relatively steep $169 a season year for the streaming-video service," compared to MLB, which "charges about $120, for more games." The NBA last season streamed games on NBA.com as "part of its $179 NBA League Pass subscription" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/23).