The NHL’s return to ESPN after 17 years is supercharging advertising sales for Disney, which has nearly sold out commercial time for the 2021-22 season.
The entertainment giant expects more than $100 million in NHL-related ad sales this season, sources tell Front Office Sports.
“We are very, very well sold,” said Rita Ferro, president of Disney advertising sales, who declined to comment on numbers but noted significant demand across ESPN, ESPN+, and Hulu. “We have a couple of positions left, mostly in the playoffs and Finals.”
NBC’s 16-year run of NHL coverage came to an end after its Stanley Cup broadcast in July. Disney has picked up many of the network’s former advertisers.
- A dozen official league partners have come aboard, including Apple, Verizon, and EA Sports.
- Lexus, Fidelity, and Subway are among presenting, in-game, and studio sponsors.
- Expedia will present 25 games on ABC and ESPN; New Amsterdam Vodka will present 75 games on Disney’s streaming platforms.
ESPN is paying a reported $400 million annually to serve as the league’s lead TV partner — part of a seven-year, $2.8 billion contract — while Turner Sports is paying an annual $225 million for the “B” package.
The deal looks well worth it for Disney. “Our business is on fire,” Ferro said.