NHL 2011-12 is upon us, and the league is seeking to cut into MLB and NFL time in a big way.
On Oct. 6, with the NHL set to drop the puck on the new season, the league and its corporate partners will be in Winnipeg for the Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off.
The celebration there marks the league’s return to the city, where the NHL will roll out the Zamboni for the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets. The franchise previously played in Atlanta as the Thrashers but is invoking the name, logo and other aspects of the former NHL entity that in 1996 moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes.
“We’re excited to drop the puck of our new season in the city that signifies new and exciting things to come for the NHL with the return to the great city of Winnipeg,” said Brian Jennings, evp-marketing for the NHL.
The NHL is bringing a show of marketing force along for its season-opening events. In addition to title sponsor Molson Canadian, brands on hand will include Scotiabank, XM, Canadian Tire, Visa, Bridgestone, EA Sports and Reebok.
The league said it plans to offer fans on-site “family-friendly and free interactive games, giveaways, live game broadcasts on giant video boards, prizes and other unique experiences,” including free trips to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa.
“It’s great to be able to provide our partners with a launchpad event to welcome back hockey as they build out consumer promotions and hockey-themed marketing campaigns for the 2011-12 NHL season,” said Jennings.
Versus will offer live look-ins from Winnipeg beginning at 6:30 PM (ET) from its set in Boston, where the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers. NHL Network’s coverage of opening night will begin at 3 PM (ET).