NHL Eclipses 1 Million Facebook Fans, NHL.com Traffic Up Significantly,
VERSUS Sees its Best NHL Opening Month, Other Platforms Show Continued Growth
NEW YORK (November 8, 2010) – Fueled by an unprecedented number of digital product introductions spanning broadband, mobile and social media, the NHL’s digital strategy continued to deliver new milestones of fan engagement in October, the National Hockey League announced today. Mobile downloads, NHL GameCenter LIVE subscriptions, Facebook fans and NHL.com traffic from around the world have all reached new heights, further evidence of the strong global demand for NHL content and the League’s reach and distribution.
The League continues to see growth across traditional platforms including ratings and merchandise sales for the first month of the season. Highlights from around the business include:
The League’s strong mobile performance has been led by the introduction of more than 25 new digital products in the marketplace and the NHL’s young, affluent, tech-savvy fan base, following their favorite players and teams wherever they may be.
· In the first month of the season there have been more than 500,000 downloads (free and paid) of NHL GameCenter through strategic mobile partnerships including Verizon, Bell, Apple, Google, Nokia and RIM.
· Page Views to the NHL.com mobile website increased 48% for the month of October year-over-year
· The GameCenter iPhone app is currently ranked No. 1 in the sports category in Canada, where it has held that position 2 out of the 4 weeks it has been in the marketplace. It has head one of the top 3 positions in this category for the first four weeks of availability in the marketplace in the U.S.*
· The GameCenter iPad app is currently No. 1 in the sports category in the Canada (free and paid), and No. 4 with the free app and No. 5 for the paid app in the U.S.*
· Outside of North America, the GameCenter iPhone app has held the No. 1 position among sports apps in Finland since its inception, and was No. 1 in Slovakia 3 out of the 5 weeks of its availability.*
(*Source: iTunes Top Charts)
NHL GameCenter LIVE
The League continues to serve fans’ demand of NHL hockey with a robust offering of out-of-market games through its premium streaming service NHL GameCenter LIVE:
· NHL GCL subscriptions are up 25 percent season-to-date compared to the same time period last year.
NHL on Facebook
The NHL has reached one million fans on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/NHL), strong validation of the NHL’s ambitious syndication strategy to shorten the distance between the League and its fans. Importantly for the League, fans of the NHL on Facebook tend to visit NHL.com more than other fans, spend more time on the site, view more videos and consume more stories.
Through first 24 days of the NHL season, the following were up compared to the same time period last season:
· Unique Visitors (UVs) are up 29 percent
· Page Views are up 27 percent
· Visits have increased by 15 percent
· Video starts are up 155 percent
· Articles read are up 77 percent
· Video starts up 155 percent
For all of October:
· UVs from Canada is up 14 percent, from the United States up 26 percent, Finland 64 percent, Sweden 19 percent and Germany 18 percent.
NHL Cable Partners Nationally and Locally Seeing Strong Growth
· Through the week ending Oct. 31, VERSUS has seen an 18 percent increase in total households and a 12 percent increase in viewership for its exclusive NHL telecasts, resulting in the best opening month of the NHL in network history.
· TSN’s Wednesday Hockey NHL telecasts are up 24 percent compared to last year’s season average.
· Ratings have been strong via regional sports networks in the U.S. The markets experiencing double digit percentage ratings increases through Oct. 31 are: Los Angeles (+100 percent), Chicago (+75 percent), New York Islanders (50%), St. Louis (+43 percent) Tampa Bay (+33 percent), Washington (23%), Edmonton (17%) and Boston (15%)
NHL Merchandise in Global Demand
Season-to-date, NHL merchandise has seen the following increases for the month of October over the same time period last year:
· North American retail sales and in-area per caps are both up 9 percent
· Sales at the NHL Powered By Reebok store are up 13 percent
· Apparel sales are up 22 percent, and Electronic Games are up 27 percent.
· Last week the Shop.NHL.com experienced a 26 percent increase in sales over the same period in 2009.
New Partnerships Increase Distribution, Reach
In the lead-up to the start of the season, the NHL made a trio of significant announcements. The NHL and HBO outlined plans for a new series leading into the NHL’s New Year’s Day outdoor game, “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic,” a four-episode all-access series which chronicles the two fierce rivals. The NHL also became the first professional sports league with a dedicated presence on Foursquare, one of the leading social media innovators. And the League also has partnered with Stan Lee on The Guardian Project, a new franchise from the legendary comic book creator that will incorporate the identities of all 30 NHL teams into superheroes.
2009-10 NHL Business: Best Year on Record
Despite difficult global economic conditions, in 2009-10 the NHL posted its fourth-consecutive year of strong business growth, engaging with a record number of fans. The League generated record television ratings during the playoffs, saw triple digit increases across its digital platforms, added sponsors and experienced a 66 percent increase in advertising and sponsorship revenue, set merchandising sales records during the Stanley Cup Final and played to 102 percent of arena capacity for the postseason.