NHL 2011 Stanley Cup Final Aftermath 4th July, 2011

Blaring of the final horn in the seventh, deciding game of the NHL 2011 Stanley Cup final divided Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins into losers and winners.  Boston Bruins became the Stanley Cup Champions again after long 39 years, what a reason for celebration!

The team celebrated excitedly on ice wearing merchandise already boasting the new Stanley Cup Champions’ logo provided by Reebok Hockey, the main NHL licensee.  The marketing partner Anheuser Busch brewery too made a special Bud Light beer edition with “Boston Bruins the Stanley Cup Champions” logo for the players to toast their victory – promoting sales and thus generating revenue for the NHL as a whole through shared revenues.

The main celebration was scheduled for the streets of Boston, where the team could celebrate together with their fans.  The city parade called the Rolling Rally involved eighteen duck boats carrying cheering players who presented the Stanley Cup to over a million of supporters.

The show also attracted a strong media interest, being broadcasted on both local and national TV networks, thus creating a great opportunity for other marketing partners, in addition to the official NHL partners, including TD Bank and Marriott hotel of Boston Bruins, to activate their sponsorship.  A visible affiliation with the event improved the public awareness of the marketing partners ultimately aiming to alter consumer behaviour.  Owing to the popularity of ice hockey, although still trailing behind NFL, MLB and NBA, large followings of fans, both local and importantly non local fans, were targeted, further improving the economic impact of the event in Boston.

The above is a prime example of the close association of the NHL and its sponsors, which, in the last six years, lead to a much needed, progressive increase in the NHL’s revenue.  This is following a lockout in the 2004-05 season when the NHL was suspended due to the rapid increase in players’ salaries, with only 7 teams of 32 in profit.  A salary cup was introduced then as a precaution calculated as a proportion of the previous season’s revenue.  As the NHL has just announced an increase in the salary cup for the coming season from $59.4 to 64 million, this indicates a good working sponsor partnership as well as efficient budgeting.  The NHL has definitely turned a corner and I look forward to more exciting games to come.