SBJ/June 9 - 15, 2003/This Weeks Issue

NHL.com draws estimated 3.5M for May

NHL.com drew an estimated 3.5 million unique visitors in May, the last full month of a season in which, according to Keith Ritter, president of NHL Interactive CyberEnterprises, it built on several consecutive years of profitability.

NHL.com also upped subscription revenue.

The May traffic, based on an estimate from measurement technology company RedSheriff, represents a 13 percent rise from the 3.1 million unique visitors in May 2002. In April, nhl.com set a site record with 3.9 million unique visitors, according to Internet traffic measurement service netScore.

Before this season, nhl.com ramped up its subscription offerings in an effort to capitalize on heavy traffic and become less wedded to advertising dollars. The shift — which brought visitors three paid fantasy games and four subscription video packages — has added an important, if minor, revenue stream, Ritter said.

Ritter would not provide specific numbers, but he did say that revenue from fantasy was up 30 percent this year and that revenue from all of the site's subscription offerings had doubled from a year ago.

Ritter said close to 250,000 people this season registered for video content on nhl.com, although some of the more basic video content is free. Ritter said only that "a lot" of those 250,000 users paid.

The e-commerce revenue stream for nhl.com hit eight figures this season, according to Ritter. Just four years ago, that number was in the low six figures.

Sponsorship revenue, meanwhile, was up 15 percent over last year, Ritter said. One of the NHL's sponsors, Nextel, in March signed a multiyear deal that allows customers to receive a wireless version of nhl.com on their phones. Since then, 500,000 people have signed up, Ritter said.

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