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02-20-2013, 11:50 AM
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SBJ: NHL returns from lockout strong

Cooper’s firm represents Scotiabank, SiriusXM and Canadian Tire, among other companies, in deals with the NHL and with individual clubs. He was among the skeptics during the lockout, concerned about what damage this latest NHL work stoppage might leave behind.

And while evidence of damage does exist — a report from consultancy Brand Finance released last week detailed a projected loss in brand value for the league because of the lockout — Cooper characterizes the NHL’s return as “surprisingly strong.”

“I was very critical during the lockout about what I thought the brand damage would be. It turns out I was very wrong,” he said. “I actually have meetings with clients this week on playoff activation. Now that there’s a long-term CBA in place [the new collective-bargaining agreement is a 10-year deal, with an option for both sides after eight], I don’t anticipate anything except 100 percent renewals and a lot of new business.”

Cooper credits league executives for their transparency with corporate partners throughout the lockout.
“Thanks to the great start we’ve had, which we owe to the fans, we are having a lot of success with prospective partners across North America,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL senior vice president of integrated sales and marketing. “We expect to announce new deals in the near future in two sponsorship categories we’ve never had in the U.S., along with some other new, more traditional partners. Some major renewals will be done soon as well.”

According to Wachtel, open categories for the league are men’s personal care, consumer electronics, and travel and tourism in the United States; and insurance, automotive and fast food in Canada.

Said Peter Nowlan, chief marketing, strategy and business development officer at Molson Coors Canada, “No one wanted the lockout to go as long as it did, but we prepared so that when the season started, we turned on our activation programs immediately.”
So, most sponsors happy at strong return by fans. New ones being courted.

And viewership up, etc. And looking at what a few teams have done to reach out to fans (to heal the rift).

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