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Streaming power play: Hulu scores official sponsorship of NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and finals

Hulu shoots and scores a sponsorship of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and finals / Hulu, John McArthur via Unsplash

Streaming service Hulu announced that beginning March 11, it will become the official National Hockey League (NHL) sponsor for its postseason tournament, the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs and final.

The extensive partnership includes a national marketing campaign across all league touchpoints including the NHL’s digital and social channels, as well as camera-visible, in-stadium inventory within all US venues. As part of the agreement, Hulu has also partnered with the National Hockey League Players’ Association to create video vignettes that will showcase some NHL stars and help drive awareness for Hulu as a streaming option for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The collaboration also includes integration within all NBC broadcasts with on-air presenting sponsorship of NBC Sports’ NHL Live pre-game show for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hulu will also create a custom hockey collection within the Hulu experience throughout the playoffs.

Since launching its live TV service in May 2017, Hulu has partnered up to make viewing sports events more flexible for its viewers, creating personalized experiences for both the 2018 Winter Olympics and NCAA's March Madness tournament.

Subscribers of Hulu’s $39.99 a month live TV tier can stream the Stanley Cup Playoffs on NBC, as well as NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), CNBC, USA Network and the Golf Channel, and the Stanley Cup Final on NBC and NBCSN.

Said Patrizio Spagnoletto, Head of Media and Subscriber Growth at Hulu: “Since we launched our live TV package, we’ve seen live sports drive a very large part of our growth, so we are especially excited to team up with the NHL to celebrate the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With sports serving as the centerpiece for many of our live TV viewers, we’re always looking for new, innovative ways to engage fans and make sure they never miss a single moment of their favorite games.”

Keith Wachtel, the NHL's chief revenue officer and executive vice president, added: "Our main goal is to bring these memorable moments to the broadest possible audience, and partnering with a powerful brand like Hulu will allow us to drive deeper engagement with our fans.”

Sandra Monteiro, chief of global business strategies for the NHL Players Association, said: “Through this exciting partnership with Hulu, the players will not only be the focal point on the ice as they battle for the Stanley Cup, but they will also drive fans to the action with these exclusive video vignettes.”

Major sports leagues and organizations continue to strike deals with streaming services to ensure their fans get into the action wherever they are. YouTube TV last week announced itself as the presenting sponsor for the NBA Finals, complementing ABC's annual coverage. Formula 1 has entered a deal for Netflix to stream its races, as well as a series and documentary. Facebook has worked with Major League Baseball to stream a "game of the week" exclusively through its Facebook Watch platform.

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