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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Disney Rings Up $90M In NHL Ad Sales For New Season

  • Disney scores American Express and Mercedes-Benz as first-time sponsors.
  • NHL coverage attracts 130 advertisers across 70 categories.
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s return to live NHL game coverage last year after a 17-season absence sparked a wave of nostalgia for TV viewers who grew up watching hockey on the sports channel.

That momentum is continuing into Year 2, with ESPN parent Disney ringing up $90 million in advertising sales so far for the 2022-23 season, sources tell Front Office Sports. 

That’s down 10% from last season — but Disney had exclusive rights to the Stanley Cup Finals this past June. 

Under the NHL’s dual seven-year rights deals with ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT, both the 2023 Finals and Winter Classic will be shown on TNT. 

Disney Ad Sales has locked in deals with over 130 advertisers across 70 product categories for its NHL coverage this season across ABC, ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu, and social platforms. 

“We are incredibly proud of the sponsorship success we saw in the inaugural year of the NHL back on Disney,” said Sean Hanrahan, senior vice president, sports brand solutions for Disney Advertising, in a statement. “We are excited to continue building on last year’s success and creating more opportunities for brands to engage with NHL fans everywhere through our content.”

The Mouse House declined to comment on dollars. But Disney confirmed several lucrative deals for its sophomore NHL season. Among them:

  • Disney has scored both American Express and Mercedes-Benz as NHL sponsors for the first time. Amex will sponsor the “Starting Goalies” feature all season. Mercedes, meanwhile, will sponsor the “Snap Shots” feature inside “The Point,” ESPN’s weekly NHL studio show hosted by John Buccigross.  
  • Fidelity will serve as presenting sponsor for Overtime and Shootouts for regular-season games on linear TV.  For the second season in a row, it will serve in that role for games on ESPN+ and Hulu.
  • Other returning NHL sponsors for Disney: Apple, Discover, EA Sports, Expedia, Honda, Lexus, MassMutual, Navy Federal Credit Union, New Amsterdam Vodka, Progressive, SA.P and Taco Bell.

Under agreements signed last year, Disney is paying roughly $400 million annually to serve as the NHL’s lead TV partner, while Turner is paying $225 million a year for the smaller “B” package. 

ESPN and ESPN+ kicked off the NHL’s new season this week with an Opening Night doubleheader featuring the New York Rangers’ 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lighting and the Vegas Golden Knights’ 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

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