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Volume 21 No. 31
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The NHL's business timeline


■ NHL Premiere Series game is played in London, England, marking the first time the league played a regular-

Fans are introduced to the Winter Classic.
Photo by: Getty Images
season game in Europe.

■ $375 million Prudential Center opens as the new home of the New Jersey Devils.

■ First NHL Winter Classic, featuring the Buffalo Sabres vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium, attracts 71,217 fans.

■ Bridgestone and the NHL become partners; the 2009 NHL Winter Classic would later mark Bridgestone’s first year as title sponsor of the outdoor event.


■ McDonald’s becomes the official quick-service restaurant partner in the U.S.

■ As part of a three-year partnership with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the first NHL Awards are held at the Pearl Concert Theatre in the Palms Hotel, Las Vegas.

■ MTG acquires exclusive NHL media distribution rights in the Nordic Region including Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. The deal is extended in 2014-15 for an additional five years.


■ League takes over ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes. The club would later be sold to IceArizona Acquisition Co. in August 2013.


■ $321 million Consol Energy Arena opens as the new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tim Hortons goes big in Canada.
Photo by: Getty Images

■ Tim Hortons signs a multiyear partnership in Canada. The official quick-serve restaurant, coffee, donut and breakfast of the NHL in Canada also is named title sponsor of the NHL Heritage Classic outdoor game.

■ Molson Coors (Canada) and MillerCoors (U.S.) announce a seven-year, North American partnership beginning with the 2011-12 season. Molson Canadian is named the official beer of the NHL. The agreement is the largest sponsorship deal in NHL history.

■ The NHL and NBC Sports Group announce a 10-year, $187 million media partnership, scheduled to run through the 2020-21 season.


■ The NHL launches seven foreign language websites: six prior to the season in Czech, Finnish, German, Russian, Slovak and Swedish; and the French, complementing the English-language

■ Inaugural Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown game broadcast on NBC.


■ Lockout pushes back the start of the season to January, with each team playing a 48-game schedule. The new labor agreement reached is for 10 seasons, the longest such deal in NHL history.

■ The New York Islanders announce they will move to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as of the 2015-16 season.


■ $983 million renovation of Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Rangers, is completed.

The league scores major media rights deal with Rogers.
Photo by: Getty Images

■ The NHL and Rogers announce a landmark 12-year, $5.2 billion (Canadian) national broadcast rights deal in Canada running through the 2025-26 season.

■ Ticketmaster signs a multiyear extension of its ticketing deal with the league.

■ L’Oreal Paris Men Expert enters into a three-year partnership, marking the brand’s first sports sponsorship.

■ The NHL hosts six outdoor games, attended by a total of 376,837 fans. Among them: the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, which attracts 105,491 fans, the largest crowd in NHL history.


■ Procter & Gamble becomes an official league sponsor in Canada for the 2014-15 season.

■ The Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers each break ground on a new $450 million arena. The Oilers’ Rogers Place will open in 2016 while the new home of the Red Wings will open in 2017.

■ The NHL partners with GoPro. The league plans to use GoPro’s equipment and expertise to provide viewers with

GoPro brings a new look to the league.
Photo by: Getty Images
additional content during national and regional broadcasts, and across its digital and social platforms.

■ The NHL and NHLPA announce the return of the World Cup of Hockey, set for September 2016 in Toronto.

■ SAP agrees to a five-year North American partnership to be the league’s official cloud software provider.

■ The NHL and NHLPA agree to terms with Upper Deck to be the exclusive licensed manufacturer of NHL trading cards, starting with the 2014-15 season.

■ The NHL and NHLPA renew their Canadian sponsorships with Visa for an additional five years.

■ Discover renews its multiyear U.S. deal, remaining the official credit card and official payment service provider of the NHL and for all U.S.-based events through 2019.

■ The NHL signs a Canadian sponsorship with Samsung Canada as the first exclusive partner in the mobile, tablet and wearable hardware category.

■ Kellogg’s signs a Canadian partnership making Frosted Flakes the official cereal of the league.

■ Bridgestone extends its league partnership and title sponsorship of the NHL Winter Classic for five years.

■ The NHL becomes an investor in daily fantasy site DraftKings.

■ The NHL and Major League Baseball Advanced Media announce a six-year media rights partnership. MLBAM and MLB’s overall media division will operate the NHL’s digital operations, streaming services and NHL Network. The deal is valued at more than $1.2 billion and will give the NHL a 7 to 10 percent equity stake in MLB’s digital arm.

■ The NHL announces a seven-year extension with live game broadcaster SiriusXM and SiriusXM Canada.

■ The NHL closes a $1.4 billion credit facility, led and structured by Citigroup and including 20 banks and 20 investors. The facility, for the first time, allows clubs to borrow from a centralized loan pool.

■ Constellation Energy signs its first league sponsorship.


■ A Las Vegas group led by Bill Foley and a Quebec City group led by Quebecor have entered Phase III of the

Las Vegas starts building an arena with an eye toward an NHL franchise.
Photo by: Courtesy of AEG
league’s expansion process.

■ The 18,259-seat Videotron Centre opens in Quebec City, a $370 million piece of that city’s bid to attract an NHL expansion team. Meanwhile, work continues on a $375 million arena in Las Vegas that is central to that city’s bid for a franchise.

■ Adidas becomes the league’s official retailer, replacing sister company Reebok.

Sources: NHL, SportsBusiness Journal research