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Volume 26 No. 4
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NHL Ramping Up Marketing Efforts Around Young Star Players

The league is putting forth a concerted effort to better market stars like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews
Photo: getty images

The NHL is "finally beginning to market its stars as the NFL and NBA have done with great success," according to Stephen Whyno of the AP. As "dynamic players" like Oilers C Connor McDavid, Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews and Flames LW Johnny Gaudreau "settled in Canadian markets and star power spread to smaller cities without much hockey tradition, marketing players and not just teams is essential to growing the NHL's fan base." The league is now putting forth a "concerted effort to build up personalities and players' brands to become more popular." Wasserman Senior VP/Hockey Judd Moldaver, who reps Matthews, said, "Hockey players are such fantastic athletes and fantastic people that I believe the hybrid of playing for the logo on the front but also being able to optimize your individual situation. I think the two can coexist." Whyno notes NHL Exec VP & Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer since joining the league in '15 has "helped lead the charge to put more focus on star players whose abilities and personalities could play a role in attracting younger fans who are attached to social media in the digital age." Mayer said, "Other leagues it doesn't really matter sometimes: You just tune in to watch the guy play. And we need to do that even more" (AP, 4/24).