NeuLion, the NHL’s technology partner behind league flagship digital products GameCenter and GameCenter Live, has produced team-branded mobile applications for 14 NHL clubs this season.
“These are not your typical sports apps with a little hockey video to go with them,” said Chris Wagner, NeuLion executive vice president and co-founder. “It’s a true hockey app. We wanted to create a true hockey experience for the dedicated fan of a particular NHL club.”
Eight teams from the NHL’s Western Conference introduced new apps at the start of this season: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Six teams are from the Eastern Conference: Carolina, Columbus, Florida, New Jersey, Philadelphia and the New York Islanders.
The other 16 NHL clubs have existing arrangements with providers.
“Over time, we hope to have more teams using the NeuLion apps,” said Steve McArdle, NHL executive vice president of digital media and strategic planning.
Shawn Tilger, senior vice president of business operations for the Flyers, said his club’s app has been downloaded by more than 50,000 fans since it was launched on Oct. 1.
“We did a lot of research about apps and considered developing our own,” Tilger said. “But the league’s partnership with NeuLion made the decision to go with theirs easy for us.”
There are advantages for the clubs partnering with NeuLion. Since the league and clubs use a common technology platform devised and operated by the company, content sharing is easier. The NeuLion platform also provides the clubs with a fast publishing capability so that live and on-demand content can be quickly delivered to fans.
“We first started talking about developing these team apps in May,” McArdle said. “Obviously, our relationship with NeuLion means that we’re able to get quality work done quickly.”
McArdle and Wagner declined to disclose how much the apps cost the clubs. Teams are entitled to sell local sponsorships of the apps.
“We are actively pitching sponsorships and expect results soon,” Tilger said. “But, for us, the app is more of a vehicle to create compelling content for our fans. I’m confident that it’s going to help us with everything from increasing our TV ratings to selling more merchandise and tickets.”
The apps are free for users and can be downloaded from Apple and Android app stores.