The National Hockey League has landed a 20% year-over-year increase of sponsors activating around the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
This year’s game will be the 29th NHL regular-season outdoor game and the 12th NHL Winter Classic.
This is Bridgestone’s 11th year as title sponsor. New to the NHL sponsor roster as of September, Truly Hard Seltzer is the title partner of the Winter Classic PreGame fan festival, held before and after the game.
Brands can also activate around other big events like the All-Star Weekend and Stadium Series, Evin Dobson, NHL group vice president, partnership marketing, tells Marketing Daily.
"These are marketing platforms for our partners to activate their brands around and create compelling backstory," says Dobson. "It’s our job to help enable that and to provide some thoughtful activation starter ideas where we can.”
Hockey fans on average are the youngest, most educated, affluent and tech-savvy of all the major sports leagues, he adds.
At the Winter Classic, a total of 17 brands have activations. New partners for this year’s event include Jagermeister, Truly Hard Seltzer, Navy Federal Credit Union, MGM Resorts and MassMutual.
Bridgestone is hosting a hockey slapshot competition and Discover is offering “Puck Putt” experience, which is hockey meets miniature golf.
Lesya Lyssj, CMO of Truly Hard Seltzer-maker Boston Beer Company, says the timing of the Winter Classic will help the brand to be top of mind with drinkers making more healthfully minded choices for New Year’s Resolutions.
“This partnership allows us to reach drinkers in what has traditionally been a light beer occasion -- having fun, enjoying with friends and even drinking for longer periods of time -- to either offer them Truly or convert them to a Truly drinker,” Lyssi tells Marketing Daily.
In today’s cluttered media environment, sports continue to be an “incredibly effective way to connect with consumers through a shared passion point,” says Amber Holm, vice president, marketing, consumer and customer engagement, Bridgestone Americas.
“Hockey is an important platform for building our brand in Canada, and it continues to show rapid growth in the U.S. -- especially in non-traditional markets like Dallas,” Holm tells Marketing Daily.
Hockey is a great way to reach millennials, she adds. “We’ve increased our focus in digital and social media, and we’ve successfully leveraged our sports partnerships on content platforms to support these efforts,” Holm adds.