The official beer brand of the NHL activated its partnership rights with the Edmonton Oilers with a puck and practice gear giveaway and list-building initiative as the team entered the Playoffs in search of the Stanley Cup.
The Oilers, who eliminated the Dallas Stars in the first round of the Playoffs, face fierce local Alberta (Canada) rivals the Calgary Flames (for the first time in 31 years) in the next stage and so beer sponsor Molson Canadian sought to leverage the excitement and give fans even more incentive to cheer on their team by giving away 100 pucks used during the warm-up sessions of each Playoff game.
Working with agency partner Bite Size Entertainment, the beer brand linked with official NHL puck supplier Inglasco to make 100 numbered pucks for each Playoff game. A digital-first campaign then promoted the giveaway and aimed to drive fans to go to a bespoke campaign page at molsonplayoffpuck.ca to fill out an online form to have a chance to win a puck.
‘At Molson Canadian, we’re all about connecting fans to our beloved game and now we’re giving Oil Country the chance to bring home a piece of Oilers Playoff hockey.’
You could take home a piece of @EdmontonOilers history tonight.
— Molson Canadian (@Molson_Canadian) May 24, 2022
Molson and the Oilers gave away 400 pucks during first-round home games and plan to continue to hand them out as long as the team stays in the playoffs.
”As a long-standing partner of the Edmonton Oilers, Molson Canadian is proud to be the beer that can bring a special part of the Playoffs experience to the fans,” said Molson Coors Beverage Company Director of Partnerships and Events Brian Collins.
The Oilers’ partnership with Molson Canadian and the league’s viewing figures show that hockey still connects.
Perhaps it is part due to the fact that the 2021/22 NHL postseason has been particularly exciting with five of the eight first-round Playoff series going to a Game 7 and four of those Game 7s decided by one-goal wins. Plus, six of the eight teams which made it through to the second round did so after trailing in their series. While the 6.4 goals scored on average in each game of the first round is the most in 27 years.
Last year, US broadcast major NBC relinquished its rights to NHL broadcasts and handed them to Turner Sports and younger ESPN audiences.
But, since NBC handed over its rights, the NHL has drawn 26% more viewers this season on TNT than it did the previous season on the (now-defunct) NBC Sports Network.
Professional hockey in general and the NHL in particular have largely been seen as a Big League under pressure as it has been overtaken by soccer in terms of participation and viewing in recent years.
At the start of this season, the NHL sought to meet its challenges through several initiatives: including partnering with agency Highdive to focus on young players (like Oilers superstar Connor McDavid) through a campaign called ‘Nothing Regular’.
Interestingly, female viewership of NHL on TNT’s regular season games increased 56% versus 2020-21 NHL games on cable, while ESPN saw 73% more women watch games than they did a year earlier on NBC Sports. ABC also generated an 11% rise amongst women versus NBC.
Some of the new energy from these measures and figures have attracted new partners to hockey – such as online Canadian car marketplace Clutch and automotive breakdown protection site Olive.com, as well as TikTok (which penned a deal with the league and its players’ union in February to give TikTok game, player and celebrity access throughout the season and playoffs).
Other NHL sponsors activating around this year’s Playoffs include Great Clips’ homage to hockey hair and Kraft Heinz handing out NHL preseason games and stadium upgrades to Canadian cities.