Many non-hockey fans still see the sport as something for the tough-handed red-necked, a game played on rural ice ponds and more about combat than athletics. This view is obviously nonsense. Most NHL teams are based in major cities, it’s a fast game that requires an amazing level of athletic talent from its players, and the fans are no more aggressive than fans of any other sport. Yes, a fight will still break out on the ice from time to time, but that’s part of the fun.
One of the potential reasons why people who do not know much about hockey may not have the best opinion of the sport is that the production values of NHL games have lagged behind the NFL, MLB and NBA for decades. It’s starting to change, but there’s still something to come after.
Hockey viewership has fluctuated in recent years. After one serious decline in viewers in 2020, the NHL has returned and the viewership is the highest it has been in years. Compared to the other major sports leagues, especially the NFL, these numbers are still pretty low.
One way the NHL can work to attract new fans and keep existing fans entertained is to increase the production values of video games. This will attract new fans who have gotten used to the acting from the big NFL games. One of the easiest ways for the NHL to do this without compromising its financial position would be to develop sponsorship agreements with a wider range of companies, including iGaming companies.
The top online casino for real money sites may want to consider an NHL sponsorship to maintain their position and build on the advertising potential they have already established in Europe. It’s a competitive industry, and it’s not enough to be the best if you do not have name recognition.
Let’s examine how things are at the moment and how they can evolve.
Advertising and the NHL
Unlike most other major professional sports leagues around the world, the NHL has always managed to avoid turning players’ jerseys into billboards for their sponsors. This has helped the sport maintain a level of integrity not matched by many others. Unfortunately, this also limited the amount the sponsors were willing to pay. If they do not get constant advertising during a game, it is much harder for a company to justify a large financial outlay to investors and the board.
For the 2021-22 season, that has finally changed. The jerseys still remain untouched by advertisements, but sponsorships can choose to have a sticker with their logo affixed to the players’ helmets. Whether this is merely a response to the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, or whether it is the start of a movement towards broader advertising at the games and on the players, is still unknown.
In the UK, the rise in football sponsorships from iGaming companies has been a great way for smaller teams to stay competitive, even when they do not have the same budgets as the teams owned by obscenely wealthy individuals or organizations. iGaming has so far proven to be a consistent industry so teams can rely on these sponsors.
Online casinos are one of the two major forms of iGaming that have started sponsoring sports teams. The other is sports betting companies. The NHL has recently agreed to sponsorship deals with several of the biggest names in iGaming in USA. These are BetMGM, Betway, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet.
There have been some concerns about having these types of sponsors. Since advertising for sports betting companies during games is still illegal in the United States, the big argument that children who watch the games will be exposed to sports betting has no justification.
In fact, sports betting is an insanely popular pastime around the world. The Americans are just a little bit late for the game. It is also a very, very lucrative industry. As it expands in the United States, it will only continue to bring in higher revenues.
All of this means that having iGaming sponsors gives the NHL more money to invest in making the games as enjoyable as possible for fans. Having the resources to increase production values will lead to increased viewership, and hockey will be able to grow in popularity across the country. The financial stability that iGaming sponsors can provide will most likely play a major role in the future of hockey throughout North America.