NBC plans to launch a new promotional push for its National Hockey League coverage on Christmas Day, hoping to boost viewership for its coverage of the ratings-challenged sport.
The new creative is set to launch during NBC’s Christmas Day broadcast of a National Football League game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, and will run not only within sports programming but also in other dayparts.
NBC’s strategy is to brand its weekend afternoon hockey games as a feature game, the "Game of the Week" in the NHL, similar to how it has attempted to brand its Sunday Night Football contests.
The network will try to push some of the young stars of the league that have yet to achieve mainstream name recognition, such as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.
Crosby, who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins, will be featured in NBC’s January 13 season opener, a Pittsburgh-Philadelphia Flyers game that will go to 60% of the country as part of NBC’s regionalization strategy.
NBC’s new campaign includes a two-minute promotional video that will run in NHL arenas and on the NBC Sports and NHL websites leading up to Jan. 13.
The campaign also features print advertising, as well as promotional video running at retail outlets such as Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Costco and Best Buy.
NBC Sports creative director Mark Levy says the creative will feature elements in constant motion to represent the speed and motion of the game. One element will include a panel reveal effect designed to represent ice spraying off a hockey puck or skate.
NBC is entering the second season of its new NHL deal that saw the network pay the league no rights fees up front. Last season, the network’s NHL coverage averaged a 1.4 rating overall for the regular season and playoffs.
The network recently added outspoken former player Brett Hull to its studio team.