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Volume 20 No. 42
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Geico adds three years to NHL deal

Geico has signed a three-year renewal with the NHL to extend its U.S. partnership, which began during the 2009-10 season.

“It is a very similar pattern as the previous deal on a much bigger scale for all parties involved,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL senior vice president of integrated sales. “It’s very integrated and continues the new league model of having partners support the league as well as the broadcast partner.”

Financial terms of the deal were not available.

Geico advertisements will air during all nationally broadcast games on NBC and Versus, which will become NBC Sports Network next year. That includes the Jan. 2 Winter Classic, where the insurance giant will also have in-ice branding and activation in the spectator plaza. Geico will debut two spots featuring the Geico caveman during the Winter Classic broadcast that will run during the remainder of the season. It also retains presenting sponsorship of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a position it acquired in 2010-11.

In addition, Geico gains presenting sponsorship of the “Intermission Report” for all games shown on the NHL Network. It also receives additional dasherboards for all nationally televised games during the regular season and playoffs.

Geico retains team deals with 19 of the league’s 23 U.S. teams; it negotiates those deals separately from the league deal.

The company’s total partnership and activation spending with the league and clubs has risen 30 percent from its 2010-11 commitment, according to an industry source.

Wachtel said the NHL does not have plans to increase Geico’s partnership north of the border, as Geico does not do business in Canada. Before signing Geico, the NHL did not have a U.S. partner in the insurance category.

The NHL negotiated the renewal with Scout Sports and Entertainment, launched in 2010 by Horizon Media, which negotiated the original Geico deal. Michael Neuman, managing partner for Scout, said he opened renewal discussions in January but he waited until the NHL completed its 10-year, $1.9 billion national television deal with NBC before proceeding.

“We waited so we could take into consideration what the partner was bringing to the table,” Neuman said. “There is incremental exposure that everyone is going to get throughout the playoffs and an ability to drive a lot more live programming.”