Sponsor Insights

Upper Deck Woos Young NHL Fans

Leading sports collectibles company Upper Deck–an NHL partner since 1990–has brought its knack for innovative activations to its role as the title sponsor for the NHL Entry Draft, which begins today. The exclusive licensed manufacturer of NHL Trading Cards, the company is also keen to expand into the NFT space. 

In keeping with its longtime strategy of boosting younger generations’ engagement with the NHL–both inside and outside the arena–Upper Deck has been drumming up excitement for the draft citywide since June 26th, when the Upper Deck truck began roaming Montreal’s streets. Free giveaways along its nine-stop route include 2022 draft exclusive 9-card player sheets, as well as mini posters of Shane Wright, Upper Deck ambassador and potential #1 draft pick. Fans were encouraged to post their truck pics on social media with the hashtag #CollectTheBest. 

The fun continues inside the Bell Centre today, where Puck-O–a variation on Plinko–on the arena concourse offers kids the chance to win customized play mats, calendars, and other prizes with the purchase of one pack of Upper Deck hobby cards. 

At NHL marquee events, card games–like “pack wars” to determine who has the most valuable card, and kids’ bingo with NHL mascots–have been another unique tactic for cultivating young fans. Upper Deck launched an online game during the Stanley Cup, when fans could win a free player pack by guessing the players’ identities from their descriptions.

The company was also the presenting sponsor of the Mascot Showdown at the 2022 All-Star Game, where team mascots faced off in competitions including dodgeball and broomball. Upper Deck was tagged in Instagram posts and featured with signage throughout the video along the boards of the rink.

To read more about the NHL partnerships this year, download our 2021-22 NHL Marketing & Partnerships Report .

The NHL’s Big Leap In Cause-Related Marketing

Cause-related sponsorship campaigns in the NHL grew 23% this year over last–placing the league second only to the NFL in activating community/cause-related assets in professional sports. Following the recent release of SponsorUnited’s NHL 2021-2022 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report, here’s a quick look at the biggest cause-related sponsorship takeaways this season.

More than 320+ brands activated NHL community/cause-related campaigns–led by Scotiabank, which launched multiple campaigns with the NHL and four Canadian teams (the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, and Edmonton Oilers). Other brands with the highest frequency of these campaigns were as follows:

  1. TD Bank
  2. EverFi
  3. Ford Motor Company
  4. Northwell Health
  5. Bauer Hockey
  6. Chase
  7. SAP
  8. adidas
  9. Tim Hortons
  10. Kaiser Permanente
  11. Esso
  12. Boeing
  13. Budweiser
  14. Stop & Shop
  15. Dunkin’
  16. National Grid
  17. Love Your Melon
  18. Toyota
  19. BMO Harris Bank


Financial brands led all industries, overtaking Healthcare brands as the most active supporter of causes. Insurance, Technology, and Auto (in that order) rounded out the top-five industry categories, which alone contributed to almost half of all NHL cause-related sponsorship campaigns. 

To learn more, check out the SponsorUnited NHL 2021-2022 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report at https://sponsorunited.com/nhl-partnerships-report/.

Cause Related Marketing

SportsNet & ABC, The Homes Of The 2022 Stanley Cup

Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cups takes place tonight, as both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche look to take home the cup. The Finals feature different broadcasts for US and Canadian based fans, with ABC hosting the US coverage and SportsNet hosting Canadian coverage. Looking back at the first game of the series, what differences and similarities did we find between the brands and assets sponsoring the most important matchup of the NHL season?

SportsNet’s broadcast featured 46 unique brands. The top three most frequent brands and their assets during the Canadian coverage were:

  • DraftKings (Gaming)
  • Logo in Broadcast Studio
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Sponsored Segment
  • Split Screen Commercial
  • Recorded Commercial (3)

​​On Canadian broadcasts, the gaming category ranked 3rd. Didn’t crack the top 10 for US broadcasts. Reasoning would logically be legalization of single-game gambling in Canada this past August before the season started.

  • Scotiabank (Banking)
  • Period Naming Rights (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Logo Pop Up
  • Recorded Commercial (3)
  • SkipTheDishes (On-Demand Delivery)
  • Sponsored Segment
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Recorded Commercial (2)

ABC’s broadcast featured 61 unique brands. The three most prominent brands from the  US coverage were as follows:

  • Lexus (Luxury Car Manufacturer)
  • Intermission Report Naming Rights (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Logo in Studio
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Recorded Commercial (4)
  • GEICO (Insurance
  • Presenting Sponsor of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Logo Pop up
  • Recorded Commercial (3)
  • Verizon (Telecommunications)
  • Pregame Naming Rights (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Logo in Studio
  • Recorded Commercial (3)

NHL Partnerships Report

DOWNLOAD REPORT: https://sponsorunited.com/nhl-2021-22-report/

Finance companies boost NHL team sponsorship revenue past the $1B mark for the first time in league history

The NHL 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report highlights trends in sponsorships surrounding the National Hockey League, teams, athletes, and media partners. Uncover data on over 3,300 NHL partnership deals and over 2,000 active brands buying sponsorships and media in the NHL.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Finance companies boost NHL team sponsorship revenue past the $1B mark for the first time in league history.
    This jump is a 63% increase from the $623 million in the 2020-21 season.
  • Cause-related sponsorship campaigns increased 23% year over year, with Finance brands overtaking Healthcare brands as the most active supporter of causes.
    On average, 10 brands activated against a cause (vs. 8 last season.)
  • The seven Canadian teams had a higher average social following compared to the 23 US teams.
    Brands received 2x the engagement with US teams.
  • The NHL league account posts more than any other pro sports league, in fact, 2x more than the NFL (second-most.)
    No team or player in the NHL has a larger social following than the league itself.
  • Banking and Beer brands were the top spenders as marquee brands continued to increase spend this season.
    Beer companies more than doubled their spend with NHL teams which moved the Beverage (Alcoholic) category past Healthcare to #2.

Methodology

This report was compiled using SponsorUnited’s proprietary platform data from September 2021 through June 2022.

*Social Data Compiled from Property or Person-Controlled Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn Social Accounts and Activity.

Climate Pledge Arena | Venue Report

As the first season for the Seattle Kraken has come to an end at Climate Pledge Arena, SponsorUnited highlights some of the unique features found at the arena. Although Amazon has the naming rights to the arena, the brand wanted to highlight their sustainability initiative given the arena name, “Climate Pledge Arena”.

Have you ever seen plane size signage inside of a venue? SponsorUnited has, one of the more creative pieces of “signage” found in the Alaska Airlines Atrium is an entire Alaska Airlines plane on display as part of their sponsorship deal.

Symetra, the first official sponsor of the Seattle Kraken, has over 20 unique sponsorship assets with the team including the Symetra Club located downstairs by the escalators. In the arena, Symetra has over 15 total sponsorship assets, signage on the concourse while many other assets can be seen while the game is in play including dasher board and videoboard signage.

Coors Light has over 10 unique sponsorship assets within the arena. This includes the “Coors Light Center Ice” bar which is purposely placed near center ice. Along with this bar, the brand has other clubs throughout the concourse like the “Mountain Market” and the “Coors Light Landing”.

Near the Symetra club by the escalators located in “The Deep”, is the Washington Federal Club. Not only does the WaFd Bank have naming rights to the club, but they also can be seen during the game with entertainment related content “Save of the Game” as well as on the Zamboni which they also sponsor.

The arena has many unique features as it is the first arena completely powered by renewable energy. Rather than a center hung scoreboard, they have a six-sided ceiling scoreboard designed not to interfere with any sightlines.

 

NHL Skills Challenge | Instant Replay

The 2022 NHL All-Star Skills Competition presented by DraftKings Inc. featured brands sponsoring the events.

Discover Financial Services, Honda, EA SPORTSDunkin’​ and Verizon were among the brands who had a presence during the competition.

Major Pro Sports | Technology Sponsorships Annual Report

Major Pro Sport Tech Insight

The Tech Category is now the 6th highest ranked within Major Pro Sports sponsorships, averaging 9 sponsorship deals per team. Over 400 technology and consumer electronics brands are buying sponsorship or media across the leagues.

Interested in learning more about spend data within the Technology and Consumer Electronics industry? Download the Technology Annual Report for FREE now at SponsorUnited.com.