For the first time ever, the NHL is selling ad space on helmets.
The New Jersey Devils became the first team to go public with their new partnership today, announcing that Prudential will appear on their helmets next season.
Ad placements are commonplace in European hockey, but they’re not particularly subtle. Luckily the NHL appears to be introducing helmet ads in a much more tasteful way, as evidenced by the video the Devils posted today of their new helmets.
We're proud to be the first @NHL club to have brand placement on our helmets.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 22, 2020
The Washington Capitals have also announced a “helmet entitlement partner” with Capital One.
The Washington Capitals have announced Capital One as the team’s season-long official helmet entitlement partner with the placement of the company’s branding on the team’s helmet.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 22, 2020
The Vancouver Canucks haven’t made an official announcement yet, but Daily Hive can confirm that the team is in discussions about getting a sponsor for their helmets next season. The expectation is that the Canucks will introduce the sponsor in the near future.
According to a report TSN’s Rick Westhead, the NHL hopes to raise $15 million in new ad revenue from selling space on helmets.
The NHL hopes to raise $15M selling ads on helmets this season.
Rich clubs like Tor/Mtl targeting $1M deals; small-market teams far less.
NHL exec told me teams don’t consider this "new-found money” bc helmet ads will be given to some sponsors as "make goods” for empty buildings.
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) December 21, 2020
Teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are targeting $1 million deals, says Westhead, with small-market teams likely to make far less money. The Canucks ranked 10th in Forbes’ annual NHL franchise valuations, so expect their number to come somewhere in the middle.
Both the Devils and Capitals announced helmet sponsorships with the same companies that hold the naming rights to their respective arenas. If the Canucks go in that direction, we could see Rogers on their helmets next season. Other major corporate partners include Budweiser, TD, Pepsi, and Toyota.
The move to sell ads on helmets comes as NHL teams are losing millions of dollars due to an inability to fill their buildings for games during the pandemic. Some teams may be able to host a limited number of fans for games next season, with the Dallas Stars expected to allow 5,000 fans into their arena for games.
None of the seven Canadian teams are expected to be able to sell tickets for games anytime soon, though the Canucks did tell season ticket holders they “remain hopeful” about that possibility at some point next season.
It’s been more than three years since the NBA began allowing sponsor logos on their jerseys. To date, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said that he’s against the idea of putting ads on team jerseys in his league.
Prior to now, the league has resisted selling ad space on any part of their uniforms. The league introduced rink board advertising in the 1980s, and on-ice ads in the neutral zone in the 1990s. Two years ago, the NHL added four ad spots, one for each corner of the rink, behind the goal lines.