NHL Doubles Down On Digital Ads While Teasing Some Underwhelming Tweaks

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Professional sports leagues are a business above everything else, and every single game is filled with reminders of that reality. That’s the case in the NHL, which has spent the past few years dreaming up new ways to squeeze as much money as possible out of its international enterprise.

Prior to the 2021-22 campaign, the NHL rolled out helmet ads for the first time, and the following year, it gave teams the green light to find sponsors willing to pay to throw their logo on the front of jerseys.

That wasn’t the only brand-related change that was introduced in 2022, as the start of the season also marked the debut of the digital ads that gave the NHL a new revenue stream by allowing companies to take advantage of the technology that could be used to supersede the static promotional messaging painted on the boards inside arenas.

Fans didn’t exactly embrace the digital ads with open arms, as they became a bit of a distraction thanks to frequent glitches that had to potential to induce seizures as well as unnecessarily flashy graphics that could make it hard to focus on the actual action.

However, commissioner Gary Bettman responded to that criticism by suggesting the NHL had data that showed the majority of fans actually enjoyed the change no one had really asked for, and while one of his underlings claims it could be addressing some of those concerns, viewers probably won’t want to get their hopes up.

According to ESPN, NHL Chief Business Officer Keith Wachtel recently parroted Bettman by asserting the Anti-Digital Ads crowd represents a “vocal minority,” and while he acknowledged the league is still perfecting its approach, it seems very intent on sticking with the strategy going forward.

Wachtel said the NHL is the latest corporation to harness A.I. in an attempt to reduce technical issues with the ads and admitted it has taken a closer look at those involving moving graphics in the hopes of cutting down on situations where they needlessly distract from the play on the ice.

However, it’s pretty clear they’re here to stay.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.