Blackhawks, United Airlines Team Up For Helmet Sponsorship

    • Deal comes with a small business grant recovery program.
    • NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman expects the league and its teams to lose more than $1 billion this year.

The Chicago Blackhawks have joined a growing list of NHL teams that will feature advertising on players’ helmets this season.

The organization will announce Wednesday that it has expanded its partnership with United Airlines to include the decal that will appear on the Blackhawks’ home and away helmets for the 2020-21 season.

In an effort to recoup expected revenue shortfalls coming with shortened 56-game schedules—and few fans allowed in arenas—due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL is allowing advertising on helmets on a one-year, trial basis.

The Blackhawks and United said they are using the opportunity to strengthen their commitment to bolster neighborhood businesses surrounding the United Center on the West Side of Chicago.

Supported by the commitment from United, the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation will launch a small business grant recovery program named “Support West” that will award one-time, $5,000 grants for working capital purposes to minority-owned small businesses in the neighborhood with fewer than 10 employees.

“The Chicago Blackhawks and our Foundation place great importance on serving our local community, especially our neighbors on the West Side,” Danny Wirtz, Chief Executive Officer of the Blackhawks, said in a statement. “Together with United, a long-standing partner to our home arena, this unique blend of on- and off-ice elements propels our vision to ‘reimagine the potential of hockey’ forward with programs that seek to assist in long-term recovery and elevate the economic corridors of West Side communities surrounding the United Center.”

The “Support West” grant process will begin Feb. 1 and continue through Feb. 28 with selection slated to begin in March 2021.

“As Chicago’s hometown airline, it is critical to United to support the many struggling businesses that so many communities, United customers and United team members depend on,” Rahsaan Johnson, Director of Global Sponsorship Activation at United, said in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with the Blackhawks to channel our resources to better ensure that the small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic remain a valuable part of our city when we emerge from this pandemic.”

The advertising decals will be on display for the first time when the Blackhawks open the 2020-21 NHL regular season against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night in Tampa, Fla.