7 Key Sponsorship Trends in the NHL

The sponsorship landscape in the NHL is changing. Here we break down 7 ways the sport is evolving including growth in sponsorship revenue.

The National Hockey League (NHL) has had a landmark year in the 2022-2023 season, making impressive strides in areas of growth, innovation, viewership, and sponsorship. Here are the seven key trends that have made a splash in the NHL.


Significant Growth in Revenue and Viewership

The NHL experienced a 21% increase in team sponsorship revenue, totalling $1.28 billion. This was a faster rate of growth than any other major pro sports league. There were a record 70 sponsors in this season, including 11 new global-level sponsors. Viewership also increased, with ABC and ESPN showing 50 games this season, averaging 629,000 viewers—a 6% increase over last year.

New Sponsorship Opportunities

The NHL has started to leverage jersey patch sponsorships, with 13 out of 32 teams having secured deals so far. This provides a new avenue for brands to gain visibility. The league is also changing its sponsorship model to include partnerships that showcase social causes and embrace new categories and assets, such as heavy equipment and NFTs.

Innovative Advertising Technology

The NHL introduced digitally enhanced dasherboards (DEDs), which are a new form of advertising that allows for the digital replacement of ads in local, national, and international game broadcasts. This has the potential to revolutionize the advertising landscape within the NHL and beyond.

Popularity of Betting & Daily Fantasy Sponsorships

The NHL saw a remarkable 185% increase in Betting and Daily Fantasy sponsorships since 2019, with 79% of these deals now including virtual signage.

Community and Cause Campaigns

The number of brands running Community and Cause campaigns has increased by 43% since the 2020 season, with 335 brands, led by the Healthcare (15%) and Financial (13%) industries, embracing these initiatives.

Increased Emphasis on Social Media Engagement

Brands are redefining their benchmarks for NHL partnership success, placing more importance on social media engagement and impressions. This demonstrates the growing value of real-time performance metrics and data-driven insights in shaping the future of NHL sponsorships.

Image by pikisuperstar

High Sponsorship Growth Among Top Teams

The four teams that made the NHL Conference Finals (Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars, Las Vegas Knights) grew their sponsorships by an average of 12 deals in the past year, which is significantly higher than the league’s average growth rate of 2.5 sponsorships.

The NHL is Evolving

The NHL is firmly on an upward trajectory, characterized by significant growth, viewer engagement, and technological innovation. These trends will continue to shape the future of the league, bringing in fresh opportunities for brands, marketers, and sports fans alike.

Evolve Your Sponsorship

We’ve developed a resource to help sports teams grow their sponsorship revenue. It guides you through 3 critical points that will help your sports team win back the attention of your fans and create more value for your organization and your sponsors.

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