The World Cup of Hockey is going to produce new and exciting ways for the NHL and the NHLPA to monetize their product, given that the 2016 tournament's very existence is a response to their inability to squeeze dollars out of the Olympics.
If you want to get a sense of how larger this cash cow is going to grow, Rick Westhead of TSN* provides this nugget: The asking price for on-jersey advertising for the World Cup of Hockey is apparently $8 million.
"Someone paying $8 million? It's just not going to happen," said a marketing executive who has been pitched by the NHL and NHLPA. "They think they're going to get a global financial services company like Visa to pay that much, but it's just not going to happen."
The marketer said one lure for advertisers is the chance to pitch ties to Team Canada, a right typically limited to Hockey Canada's traditional sponsors such as Nike and Imperial Oil. (Disclosure: TSN has been a marketing partner of Hockey Canada since 1997.)
Spokesmen for the NHL and NHLPA declined to comment. It is believed the jersey deal would be for something more significant than just a designated ad patch, such as the ones used on NHL team practice jerseys and by American Hockey League clubs. The goal is to develop a seamless way to mesh advertising with World Cup team logos.
So $8 million to sponsor the jerseys? Seems a little steep for Chico’s Bail Bonds.
That last section is really, really intriguing. The assumption had been the on-jersey ads would be patches or some such. The plan, however, is to blend the corporate sponsors into the national team logos, akin to something like a Winter Classic event logo perhaps.
Jersey sales are going to be a big part of the equation for the NHL and the NHLPA; would that type of logo impact them? Or has the popularity of Euro soccer gear confirmed that consumers care less about being walking billboards?
We’re going to start seeing logos and jersey designs when the NHL and the NHLPA do their player media tour in September, shifting that event from New York to the 2016 World Cup’s home of Toronto. Which should be fun, if only to see what they’ve cooked up for the Young Guns and Team Kopitar (unofficial name).
(* Since TSN lost out on the World Cup of Hockey rights, it’ll be interesting to see how they approach coverage of this exhibition tournament. While it’s unavoidable that they’ll have to do roster projections, this sort of “can you BELIEVE the hubris of this tournament?!” stories could provide needles for the NHL’s balloons.)