Published October 1, 2013
The NHL opens its national schedule of more than 100 games on the NBC networks tonight with the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks raising their banner before playing the Capitals on NBCSN. Last year at this time, a lockout which eventually reduced the NHL regular season from 82 to 48 games was on, and NHL businesses were in deep freeze. A year later, following an entertaining playoff run between big-market teams, the market has rebounded. NBC Sports Group Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Seth Winter said around 60% of NBC's NHL ad inventory is sold, a bit ahead of past full seasons at this point. "A lot of our clients are in Chicago and Boston, which were the two teams in the finals, so we couldn't ask for much better," Winter said. "I thought we’d come limping out of the (labor) settlement, but hockey fans really are rabid and it shows." NBC’s NHL sponsor lineup sees league sponsor McDonald’s as the presenting sponsor of the pregame show; Jeep is sponsoring "On-Ice Live" during the pregame; Lexus will sponsor the first intermission show; league sponsor Discover will get the second intermission show; new league sponsor Advil
is sponsoring overtime; and Bud Light has the postgame show. As for in-game enhancements: Advil has a "Fast Recovery" feature; Progressive sponsors "Inside the Glass;" Wendy's gets the Robo-Cam; Ford sponsors Power Plays; league sponsor Enterprise puts its name on period statistics; league sponsor Verizon has "Game Center Premium;" while league sponsor Honda underwrites a "Start Something Special" feature. NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry series is presented by MillerCoors. For the playoffs, Geico is again the presenting sponsor while Subway sponsors overtime.