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Volume 21 No. 2
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In the Studio: John Collins

John Collins
COO, National Hockey League

The NHL is riding the momentum of its new domestic TV agreement with NBC into the 2011-12 season. Collins, the league’s COO, recently talked about the league, its brand and its future at our Charlotte studio, and these questions and answers were edited down from our conversation … to 11 words or less. The full video is posted below.
State of the NHL’s business?
COLLINS: Big new TV agreements, new European deals, “we’re locked and loaded.”

Working closer with NBC Sports on sales means …
COLLINS: NBC’s selling Olympics, “SNF,” Super Bowl alongside NHL.

Why do sports rights fees continue to increase?
COLLINS: Nothing else is live. “Sports is beginning to get fair value.”

So it’s been undervalued?
COLLINS: “It’s a proven commodity,” you “know what you’re getting.”

What about TV Everywhere?
COLLINS: “The rights deals have to catch up with the concept.”

How do you define NHL brand to potential partners?
Collins: Great fan base in U.S., but in Canada “a unifying force.”

What did HBO’s “24/7” do for brand?
COLLINS: “Hockey culture has been so closed … team-oriented.” Series looked inside.

What’s next for the league’s big-event strategy?
COLLINS: “Biggest opportunity … is the Stanley Cup playoffs.”

Getting the Cup more eyeballs, attention, ad support?
COLLINS: “It could be treated almost like a March Madness.”

Sports business stories you’re watching.
COLLINS: NBA labor, and what the NFL does next.

NBC Sports Network: How do they build a 24/7 brand?
COLLINS: “I think they’re going to look at properties” over news/info.

Start by telling stories around the properties they already have?
COLLINS: “That’s what they’ve done so well with the Olympics” and others.

Has the iPad changed your media consumption?
COLLINS: It’s “the all-media consumption anywhere and everywhere kind of device.”

Are you on Twitter?
COLLINS: “I’m not, but I am a follower.” Use it for research.

Your advice for young people who want to enter the industry?
COLLINS: “If you want to get in … really understand the business.”

Difference between working for a league and for a team?
COLLINS: “League you root for ratings … team you root for wins.”