Back in December we noted how the professional sports leagues in the U.S. were displacing traditional media as a first-stop source for all your major-sports needs. At that time, the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NHL were all over the map with their online offerings.
While content was dizzyingly plentiful, it often felt like the sports leagues were throwing everything they had at the Web. Sometimes an overall strategy was apparent. Most of the times there was none.
The National Hockey League (NHL) is tidying up its broadband efforts by introducing a new higher-quality video player for nhl.com, a bunch of new channels, and more advertising options just in time for the Stanley Cup playoffs, which begin Wednesday.
Also coming this summer, the 30 NHL teams will start using the nhl.com video player to distribute their own programming (and enjoy the profit from the accompanying ad revenue). To date, the teams use the NHL player at the league level, not for their own channels. (via paidContent)
The NHL’s broadband push feels like the league is finally using the Internet in a strategic, organized manner — as its own Web “TV” network — and not just offering piecemeal video.
There are seven channels to start. These are organized around themes like “Game Highlights”, and fans can dive as deep as they want for video clips.
Three channels are supported by exclusive national advertisers, including Anheuser-Busch (“The Hockey Show”), Dodge (“The Playoff Channel”), and Cisco (“LiveWire). Every channel has its own advertising behavior with one rule in common: The video is not stopped to run ads. Advertising is shown on rotating “panels.”
Fans can find games and highlights on Hulu, as well as YouTube and Joost. Plans are also in the works with Sling Media.