McDonald's has renewed its
relationship as an official league partner with the National Hockey League and
will become title sponsor of Hockey Day
in America, six hours of live programming including four games on Feb. 20.
The fast-food giant will
also be sponsor of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.
As part of its contract
with the NHL, McDonald's will support NHL's media properties-NHL Network and
NHL.com-as well as its media rights holders, NBC and Versus.
"The National Hockey League
is a strong and relevant partner and offers our brand unique ways to connect
with our customers," said John Lewicki, director of sports marketing for
McDonald's, in a statement. "At McDonald's, we strive to bring our
customers some of the best sports properties around, and through this continued
relationship, we're excited to bring fun, new extensions to hockey fans."
On Hockey Day, NBC Sports will
broadcast four NHL games featuring eight teams from some of the most avid U.S.
hockey markets. The first three games will be broadcast regionally with
staggered starts, which allow for live look-ins of the other regionalized
games. The fourth game, Pittsburgh at Chicago, will be broadcast nationally.
All games will be streamed live on NBCSports.com.
The program, hosted from
Chicago's Millennium Park, will also include stories about people who love
hockey, from parents who take their kids to games at sunrise, to the amateur
U.S. Pond Hockey Championships.
"By broadcasting events
such as the Winter Classic and Stanley Cup, we have had a front-row seat to the
extraordinary passion our country has for hockey," said NBC Sports President
Ken Schanzer. "Hockey Day in America
provides us an opportunity to explore and celebrate the depth of the
relationship between Americans and this special sport."
"There are hundreds of thousands
of people around the United States who have laced up skates, have chased a puck
around a rink and have enjoyed some of the same feelings of freedom and
exhilaration that our players do," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "Hockey Day In America honors that common
bond, and NBC Sports will bring the celebration to life."
The NHL's rights deals with
NBC and Versus expire at the end of the season.