NHL Production and Viewership Values
Many non-hockey fans still see the sport as something for rough hicks, a game played on icy ponds in rural areas and more about fighting than athletics. This perception is obviously absurd. Most NHL teams are based in big cities, it’s a fast-paced game that demands an incredible level of athletic skill from its players and the fans are no more aggressive than fans of any other sport. Yes, a fight will still break out on the ice from time to time, but that’s part of the fun.
One potential reason why people who don’t know much about hockey may not have the best opinion of the sport is that NHL game production values lag behind those of the NFL, MLB and NBA for decades. This is starting to change, but there is still some catching up to do.
Hockey viewership has fluctuated in recent years. After a sharp drop in viewership in 2020, the NHL has rebounded and viewership is the highest in years. Compared to other major sports leagues, especially the NFL, these numbers are still quite low.
One of the ways the NHL can work to attract new fans and entertain existing fans is to increase the production values of televised games. This will attract new fans who have grown accustomed to the spectacle of big NFL games. One of the easiest ways for the NHL to do this without jeopardizing its financial position would be to develop sponsorship deals with a wider range of businesses, including iGaming companies.
The top online casino for real money sites may wish to consider NHL sponsorship in order to maintain their position and capitalize on the advertising potential they have already established in Europe. It is a competitive industry and being the best is not enough if you are not recognized.
Let’s take a look at how things look right now and how they might evolve.
Advertising and the NHL
Unlike most other major professional sports leagues in the world, the NHL has always managed to avoid turning players’ jerseys into billboards for their sponsors. This has helped the sport maintain a level of integrity that is unmatched by many others. Unfortunately, it also limited the amount sponsors were willing to pay. If they don’t receive constant publicity during a game, it’s much harder for a company to justify a huge financial outlay to investors and the board.
For the 2021-22 season, that has finally changed.. The shirts are still unaffected by advertising, but corporate sponsors may choose to have a sticker with their logo affixed to players’ helmets. It remains to be seen whether this is simply a response to the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic or whether it is the start of a move towards wider advertising in games and on players.
In England, the increase in football sponsorships by iGaming companies has been a great way for smaller teams to stay competitive even when they don’t have the same budgets as teams owned by extremely rich. iGaming has so far proven to be a consistent industry, so teams can rely on these sponsors.
Online casinos are one of the two main forms of iGaming that have started sponsoring sports teams. The other is sports betting companies. The NHL recently has agreed sponsorship deals with several of the biggest names in iGaming in the USA. These are BetMGM, Betway, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet.
Some concerns have been raised about the presence of these types of sponsors. Since advertising for sports betting companies during games is still illegal in the United States, the major argument that children watching games will be exposed to sports betting has no merit.
In fact, sports betting is an incredibly popular pastime around the world. The Americans are just a little behind in the game. It’s also a very, very lucrative industry. As it expands in the United States, it will only continue to generate higher revenues.
All of this means that having iGaming sponsors gives the NHL more money to invest in making games as enjoyable as possible for fans. Having the resources to increase production values will lead to an increase in viewership and hockey can grow in popularity across the country. The financial stability that iGaming sponsors can provide will most likely play an important role in the future of hockey in North America.