Hulu Signs Sponsorship for Stanley Cup Playoffs

With sports a big part of its live channel offering, Hulu has signed a deal to be the official sponsor of the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs and Final series.

Hulu’s $39.99 a month live streaming TV package includes most of the networks that cover sports, including Fox, ESPN, TNT, TBS, CBS and the NBCUniversal Networks that carry hockey including NBCSports Network.

The strategy is similar to YouTube TV, which was launched at about the same time. YouTube TV has gotten a lot of attention for being the first-ever presenting sponsor of Major League Baseball’s World Series and the upcoming National Basketball League Finals.

Both YouTube TV and Hulu’s live package are among the streaming skinny bundles looking to attract cord-cutters, cord-nevers and other consumers who are looking for a lower-cost alternative to traditional pay-TV subscriptions.

Sports is expensive programming which makes it difficult for the new services to turn a profit at current price levels. But most streamers see sports as a key to attracting subscribers.

“Since we launched our live TV package, we’ve seen live sports drive a very large part of our growth, so we are especially excited to team up with the NHL to celebrate the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs – an event we know our viewers will be watching,” said Patrizio Spagnoletto, Head of Media and Subscriber Growth at Hulu. “With sports serving as the centerpiece for many of our live TV viewers, we’re always looking for new, innovative ways to engage fans and make sure they never miss a single moment of their favorite games.”

The partnership includes a national marketing campaign across the NHL’s digital and social channels, as well as camera-visible, in-stadium inventory at all U.S. venues.

The collaboration also includes integration within all NBC broadcasts with on-air presenting sponsorship of NBC Sports’ NHL Live pre-game show for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

To celebrate opening night of the 2018 Stanley Cup® Playoffs, Hulu will also be sponsoring the NHL’s 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Party held in Las Vegas on April 11, which will be free and open to fans outside the T-Mobile Arena.

“Our main goal is to bring these memorable moments to the broadest possible audience, and partnering with a powerful brand like Hulu will allow us to drive deeper engagement with our fans,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL Chief Revenue Officer. “We're thrilled to partner with Hulu and work together to showcase the road to the Stanley Cup.”

As part of the agreement, Hulu has cut a deal with the National Hockey League Players’ Association to create a number of video vignettes that will showcase some NHL stars and help drive awareness for Hulu as a streaming option for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.