SBD/December 15, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

NHL Winter Classic Sponsorship Revenue Up 20% Over Last Year

Sponsorship revenue for the Jan. 1 Capitals-Penguins NHL Winter Classic "has increased 20 percent from 2010 numbers, putting total revenue for the event in the mid-seven-figure range," according to Fred Dreier of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. NHL Senior VP/Corporate Sales & Marketing Keith Wachtel said that the league "sold out of its sponsorship inventory two months prior to the game." He added that sponsorship revenue is "up 250 to 300 times" over the '08 numbers, and that the "halo effect of the event's popularity ... has brought up the rest of the league." Dreier notes Heinz Field "affords greater infrastructure for signage and branding opportunities, as well as a bigger audience than the last two hosts -- Chicago's Wrigley Field and Boston's Fenway Park." The event's 13 partners "have activation space outside Heinz Field in an area dubbed Spectator Plaza, which will open Dec. 31." Among the activities that will take place, Reebok "will allow fans to shoot a puck into a clothes dryer," an homage to Penguins C Sidney Crosby's "childhood activity" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/13 issue).

GET 'EM WHILE THEY LAST: In Pittsburgh, Bob Cohn reported the Winter Classic is "generating a sizable buzz" even though it is still more than two weeks away. VisitPittsburgh VP/Sales & Marketing Craig Davis said, "It's a very hot ticket." Penguins President & CEO David Morehouse added, "The thing about the Winter Classic is that more people seem to be interested in coming to that game than even playoff games. I've gotten more calls from people who don't consider themselves avid hockey fans. ... We had high expectations, and it's already gone beyond high expectations." Capitals Senior VP/Ticket Sales Jim Van Stone said the response "has been absolutely tremendous." Van Stone: "Ever since it was announced in June, people have been absolutely bonkers over it. This is our Super Bowl" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 12/12).

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