2011 Final A Success On Many Fronts

NEW YORK (June 20, 2011) – After a regular season that saw

record-breaking business success, highlighted by record revenue for the

fifth consecutive year, the most significant U.S. media rights deal in

League history and the NHL® named as “League of the Year” by Sports

Business Journal, the NHL built on that momentum during a Stanley Cup®

Final that attracted the largest audience across all platforms in the

history of the sport. The landmark series, in which Boston defeated

Vancouver in seven games, was highlighted by the most-watched NHL game in

the U.S. in 38 years; the highest audience for any NHL game in Canadian

television history; record TV ratings in Boston; and the hottest of all hot

markets in Beantown fueling a Shop.NHL.com one-day sales record.

 

“There has never been a better time to be associated with the NHL,” said

NHL COO John Collins. “On the ice, we saw a Stanley Cup Playoffs filled

with tremendous performances and improbable comebacks capped off with a

dramatic Game 7 in the Final. What’s most gratifying is how our fans

responded in such a big way, driving new milestones of engagement across

all platforms. What a great way to end another record year of growth.

 

“Off the ice, the corporate community has become increasingly aware of

how the NHL can drive their business. Our partners have played a big part

in our success and continued growth the past five years and we firmly

believe the best is yet to come.”

 

Below are business highlights from the 2011 Stanley Cup® Playoffs:

 

MEASURABLE BUZZ

· According to news sources, more than one million fans attended the

Bruins victory parade – Boston’s largest crowd ever for a

championship celebration, surpassing the turnout for events in recent

years honoring the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics.

· According to Fansnap.com, tickets for the Stanley Cup Final were

driving a higher price on the secondary market than for the NBA

Finals by approximately $600 per ticket.

 

MERCHANDISE SALES UP OVER LAST YEAR’S RECORD

 

Arena

· In-arena “per caps,” the average amount spent per fan per game, were

up 11 percent over last year for the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs.

· In-arena “per caps” were up four percent for the Final.

· Game 4 resulted in the highest-ever sales at the TD Garden for a

sporting event since it opened in 1995.

· In-arena jersey sales were up 87 percent during the Conference Finals

and Stanley Cup Final

 

Retail

· North American Stanley Cup Playoff sales are on pace with last year’s

record.

· Stanley Cup Championship T-shirts sales are up eight percent with

Reebok t-shirt sales up 51 percent and Boston based Old Time Sports

up 35 percent.

· Top selling products include jerseys, official locker room products,

commemorative pucks, car flags and accessories, name and number tees

and collectibles

 

Shop.NHL.com

· Sales on Shop.NHL.com from the day after Game 7 set a new single-day

mark.

· The four-day post-Final total was up 30 percent over the same period

last year.

 

Quotes about the NHL’s retail performance:

 

“After almost 40 years of waiting for another Stanley Cup, Bruins’ fans

have responded with an energy that we haven’t seen since the Red Sox in

2004.”

— Jed Berger, VP Marketing, Modell’s Sporting Goods

 

“Customer demand in our Bob’s Stores with Bruins Stanley Cup Champions

product has been beyond even our lofty expectations.”

— Lynn LaRocca, AVP, Marketing Director, Bob’s Stores

 

“This year Stanley Cup Championship merchandise sales are up 30 percent

and last year was our best year ever.”

— Bob Magnuson, President, Old Time Sports

 

“We are thrilled with the strong Stanley Cup North American sales

increases, to outpace some of the 2010 records speaks to the momentum

for NHL in the marketplace.”

— Simon Drouin, Reebok NHL Director of Sales)

 

 

STANLEY CUP FINAL SETS VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES

The 2011 Stanley Cup set numerous viewership milestones and records,

including the highest average North American viewership for any Stanley Cup

Final in history – 11.5 million viewers (records go back to 1994). Game 7

of the series led the way, averaging a record 18.3 million viewers in the

U.S. and Canada, also a North American viewership record for any NHL game

on record.

 

Game 7 drew 8.54 million viewers on NBC in the U.S., the best for any NHL

game in 38 years, up three percent over last year’s deciding Game 6 and

seven percent over Game 7 in 2009. In Canada, the 8.76 million viewers on

CBC for Game 7 is an all-time best for any NHL game on the network and the

second most-watched sports program ever on CBC, behind only the 2002

Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Final between USA and Canada (8.96 million). The

8.76 million viewers is a 148-percent increase over the last Stanley Cup

Final Game 7 in 2009 (Pittsburgh-Detroit, 3.528 million viewers). On

French-language RDS, the game attracted 1.043 million viewers, 50-percent

higher than the last Game 7 to feature a Canadian team (2006:

Edmonton-Carolina, 695,000 viewers).

 

CBC averaged 6.153 million viewers over the seven-games series, the best

ever for CBC, a 98-percent increase over last year’s Final (3.10 million

viewers) and an 186 percent increase over the last seven-game Final in 2009

(2.154 million viewers).

 

The Stanley Cup Final seven game series (Games 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 on NBC and

Games 3, 4 on VERSUS) averaged 4.6 million viewers and a household rating

of 2.7/5, surpassing the 2004 series (3.3 million, 2.2/4 on ABC/ESPN) as

the most-watched combined network/cable Stanley Cup involving a Canadian

team ever and up 39 percent from that series. The combined viewership was

up 160 percent over the last Final with a Canadian team (Ottawa-Anaheim,

1.76 million viewers).

 

The Bruins’ first title since 1972 energized Beantown with the Boston

market averaging a 28.1/44 rating for the seven games (five on NBC and two

on VERSUS), 12 percent higher than the Boston Celtics’ seven-game average

in Boston on ABC for last year’s NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers

(25.0/40). The 43.4/64 for Game 7 was the best-ever rating for an NHL game

in Boston.

 

OTHER RATING & VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES

 

· Game 1 on NBC delivered a 2.7 national rating, up 17 percent over

last year (2.3) despite that series featuring the No. 3 and 4 U.S.

television markets (Chicago-Philadelphia).

· The 4.56 million viewers on NBC were the most for a Stanley Cup Final

Game 1 since 1999 (Buffalo-Dallas, 5.07 million viewers on FOX).

· The two-game Stanley Cup Final metered market average on VERSUS of

1.95 was up 231percent over the last time the Final featured a

Canadian team (2007, Ottawa-Anaheim, 0.59 on VERSUS).

· Game 4 on VERSUS produced a 23.64 HH rating in Boston, finishing No.

1 in the time period in the market and beating the Yankees-Red Sox

game on NESN by 141 percent (9.8 local rating).

· The 2.76 million viewers on VERSUS for Game 3 made it the most

watched Stanley Cup Final game featuring a Canadian club on U.S.

cable since 1994 (Vancouver-NY Rangers Game 7).

· The 4.6 million viewers for Game 1 on NBC was 169-percent higher than

the first network broadcast of the 2007 series (1.6 million viewers

for Game 3), the last time the Final featured a Canadian participant.

· Overall, this was the second most-watched postseason (second only to

last year) on U.S. cable in nine years.

· NBC’s five-game average audience of 5.31 million and 3.1/6 is the

best for a network Stanley Cup Final featuring a Canadian team in 38

years (6.8/15 and 7.4 million for three games in 1973 on NBC).

 

NHL.COM

· Average daily unique visitors during the Stanley Cup Final gained 26

percent over last season.

· Total visits were up by 28 percent.

· Video starts increased by 26 percent

· Mobile page views gained 39 percent

· For the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, traffic increased by 18 percent

in the U.S. and 32 percent in Canada.

· All six Canadian NHL markets showed UV growth led by Vancouver, up 91

percent over last year.

· In the U.S., among the NHL markets showing substantial growth were

Tampa-St. Pete (+149 percent), Nashville (+84 percent); Boston (+31

percent) and New York (+25 percent).

 

GAINS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

During the Stanley Cup Final, the NHL has added 48,000 Facebook LIKES and

10,000 Twitter followers. When calculated as a weekly average, this

represents a 71% increase on Facebook over the regular season (weekly

acquisition average) and a 134% increase on Twitter over the regular season

(weekly acquisition average), despite fewer teams and games.

 

NHL NETWORK

The NHL Network had the series covered from all angles with its team of

experts and guest analysts. NHL On The Fly at the Stanley Cup Final:

Pre-Game presented by Cisco was on the air each game day at 6 p.m. and

followed up each game with a post-game show immediately following the

conclusion of every game to bring viewers instant analysis, coverage of

post-game news conferences and all the news and notes. Both pre- and

post-game shows originated live from fan plaza and concourse areas in

Vancouver and Boston.

 

NHL Network’s daily signature show, NHL Live™ also broadcast Monday through

Friday from 4 – 6 p.m. during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final with the latest

series information and reports from Vancouver and Boston.

 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT THE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS AND THE NHL

“You have to look at the NHL as the most stable of all the major sports

leagues right now.”

— David Carter of Sports Business Group in Forbes.com

 

“Memorable, unpredictable, crazy, finger-biting, tire-deflating,

comeback-full spring of some of the best hockey we’ve ever seen.” – Toronto

Sun

 

“March Madness on ice.” – Denver Post

 

“Year after year, especially over the past decade, the Stanley Cup playoffs

teach us one paramount lesson: Expect the unexpected.” — Pierre LeBrun,

ESPN.com

 

“April/May Madness has suddenly become one of the NHL’s biggest marketing

tools. The modern postseason has almost a fundamentalist revival feel to

it, the rows of arena seats converted into pews where color-coordinated

worshipers lift hands aloft with every fortunate bounce of the puck.” –

Adrian Dater, SI.com

 

LANDMARK BUSINESS YEAR FOR NHL

In a season that saw outstanding on-ice performances with a dramatic

playoff chase that went down to the last minute of the last game of the

season and capped by a seven-game Stanley Cup Final, the NHL experienced

unprecedented success off the ice achieving a myriad of business records

and milestones. Led by dramatic increases in sponsorship and merchandise

sales, landmark corporate investment in its big events and impressive

digital growth, the NHL is on pace for its fifth consecutive year of record

revenue approaching nearly $3 billion in total revenue. League generated

revenue has increased by 15 percent for this year and has increased by 150

percent over the past five years. Sponsorship sales set an all-time record

with gross sales increasing by 33 percent over last year as the League

added to its blue chip roster of corporate partners attracted by the

most-coveted fan demographic in all of sports. The NHL received rave

reviews for partnering with HBO on 24/7 and recently announced a new

10-year television agreement with the NBC Sports Group. For its business

achievements, Sports Business Journal named the NHL as its “League of the

Year.”

About Steve Lepore
Contact me at stevemlepore@gmail.com

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