NBC (NSDQ: CMCSA) Sports Group has struck a wide-ranging advertising deal with the National Hockey League that gives the Comcast-owned network oversight of the teams’ national sales. The agreement builds on April’s deal that extends media rights for league games for 10 more years.
Unlike the programming rights contract, which has been estimated to be worth about $2 billion, the new ad sales deal is limited to the next five years. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
While the length of the arrangement might not be as long, the breadth of the deal is, as all NHL games airing across NBC, Versus (the NBC cable sports channel fka as the Outdoor Life Network) as well as as online properties NBCSports.com, the NHL Network, NHL mobile, and all official NHL digital sites, including NHL.com — will be sold by the NBC Sports Group Sales Department. The deal also includes shifting an unspecified amount of NHL media sales staffers over to NBC.
The NBC Sports advertising deal doesn’t include current or future NHL official marketing partners. Those kinds of sponsorships will still be purchased through the NHL Integrated Sales Department.
In addition to offering more control and greater opportunities for cross-platform sales, NBC will also get an instant traffic boost when exhibition games start up in September and the regular play begins the month after. Specifically, all traffic generated by official NHL digital sites, including NHL.com, will now be attributed to NBC Sports Digital.
Looking specifically at what the NHL can offer traffic-wise, the league says average daily unique visitors during the Stanley Cup Final gained 26 percent over last season, with video starts gaining 26 percent, mobile page views rising 39 percent. For the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, traffic increased by 18 percent. In general, even with the season more than a month over, comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) ranks the NHL number 15 among the most popular sports sites with 4.2 million average monthly visitors.
On top of the cross-platform opportunities, the addition of NHL ad sales duties can be expected to strengthen NBCU’s hand as it works to expand its reach to marketers for its other sports broadcasting, including The Golf Channel, upcoming Sunday Night Football games, the Super Bowl and the Olympics (which the network has through 2020), not to mention its 11 regional sports networks. Release