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Volume 22 No. 39
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Behind-the-scenes content helps NHL’s Cup Confidential runneth over

Whenever Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been on the ice in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, broadcast cameras have chronicled his every move. Off the ice, the cameras on his and his teammates’ phones often do the same. The latter is part of a new NHL content series that the league hopes is offering a new, behind-the-scenes look at the sport during its most important time of year.

Cup Confidential, part of the NHL’s efforts to elevate and highlight the personalities of its on-ice stars, debuted April 11. Through last Tuesday, more than 100 videos have been shared across social channels, garnering more than 10 million views and 58 million impressions across all platforms. The most-watched one on Instagram has been the April 22 episode that has drawn more than 282,000 views and features Marchand interviewing his Bruins teammates while they ate the day before Game 7 of their first-round series against Toronto. 

An Instagram video from Brad Marchand of the Bruins is the most-viewed to date.
An Instagram video from Brad Marchand of the Bruins is the most-viewed to date.
An Instagram video from Brad Marchand of the Bruins is the most-viewed to date.

The NHL has worked directly with all 16 teams to have a player from each club share videos that they shot themselves of their daily lives with the team. While the league reviews and signs off on the videos — which are almost always less than one minute in length — it gave the players free rein to record whatever they thought would be interesting. When a team is eliminated, it no longer participates.

“The idea was to let fans in on something that they certainly wouldn’t see otherwise, and have that camera roll in some unexpected places,” said NHL CMO Heidi Browning.

Some of the most popular videos on other platforms have featured the Carolina Hurricanes as they returned to the airport after winning both road games versus the New York Islanders in the second round (70,000-plus views on Facebook), and how Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (240,000-plus views on Twitter) eats chocolate ice cream before every game.

NHL Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer said that the player videos “have provided great insights from places that we’ve never been able to go, even with our all-access series.”

“Our producers and cameramen have built up a tremendous amount of trust with the players and teams in those series, but there is just a different comfort level when those cameras are not around and it’s just your teammates,” Mayer said.

Cup Confidential’s early success has the NHL thinking of ways to expand the offering. Among the ideas under consideration are a summer version highlighting how players are relaxing and preparing for next season, or perhaps a full-season version that would expand the concept to all 31 teams, Browning said.

“We think this has a lot of legs to become a franchise within itself,” said Browning.