The Increase of Advertising at NHL Games

David Stanley, Staff Writer

The National Hockey League began the 2021 season on January 13th. The unusual late start for the season was not only due to Covid-19–it was also because the 2020 playoffs were being held in the ¨NHL Bubble,¨ located in Edmonton and Toronto, Canada. There were 12 out of the 31 NHL teams in the ¨Bubble.¨ They chose these teams by their ranking before Covid-19 canceled the rest of the regular season in March of 2020.
The Tampa Bay Lightning took the Stanley Cup home to end the 2019-2020 season. With no fans allowed at the playoff games and the late start to the 2021 season, a decent dent has been put into the NHL teams’ finances. Only four teams (as of the first week of February) allow a fraction of fans to attend in person: The Arizona Coyotes (3,450), The Dallas Stars (5,000), The Florida Panthers (5,000), The Nashville Predators (2,600), and The St. Louis Blues (1,400) The other 26 NHL teams have decided to keep the doors closed.
Without fans, teams are coming up with new ways to advertise brands and continue to make money. Arenas without fans have put large sheets over the seats close to the ice, and brands pay for their logo to be on them. TD Garden has areas covered with advertising sheets behind the player’s benches for optimal angles to be on TV.
Like the Boston Bruins, every NHL team always has the team logo on both sides of the players’ helmets. The Bruins’ social media posted pictures of the team practicing, and the helmets had the TD Bank logo on them instead of the ¨Spoked B.¨ At first, some fans thought these were practice helmets and not game helmets. After the opening night of the 2021 season, fans recognized the increasing need to utilize brand advertising. Other teams, like the New Jersey Devils, also advertise their stadium’s sponsorship (Prudential Center) on their helmets. This is a definite change to the 2021 NHL season. Teams are clearly looking for creative ways to generate revenue, leaving fans wondering what other changes will be made to advertise due to the unprecedented COVID-19 situation.