Sounds like a lake monster… the Seattle Kraken. The NHL’s newest hockey team hit the ice last night. This season, the NHL signed a $635M/year broadcast deal with ESPN and Turner — nearly twice the size of last year’s deal with Disney and NBC, but far from the NFL’s recent $10B/year deal. The NHL has high hopes for Seattle’s first team in 97 years. Here’s why:
Streamable hat trick... The Kraken’s debut is part of a bigger e-vamp for the NHL, whose ratings hit a 10-year low last season. The NHL-ESPN partnership is the first major US sports broadcasting deal that’s streaming-focused: It gives the NHL access to 15M ESPN+ subscribers and 43M Hulu subscribers — and an opportunity to boost its fan base.
The future of pro sports is omnichannel… and the NHL doesn’t want to miss out. The NBA and NFL have built ways for fans to consume live sports across multiple platforms. The NBA teamed up with Microsoft to provide AI-customized content across streaming and social platforms, and the NFL partnered with Verizon to deliver 5G-powered stats in the stadium. The Kraken could spearhead the NHL’s plans to engage viewers in stadiums and on streamers.