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Islanders: What ads on helmets could mean for NHL

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 07: A glove, stick and helmet lie on the ice during the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at the Barclays Center on October 7, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 07: A glove, stick and helmet lie on the ice during the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at the Barclays Center on October 7, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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If the NHL OK’s ads on helmets what could that mean for the New York Islanders?

The NHL could be approving ads on helmets for the 20-21 NHL some day very soon. So what does that mean for the NHL and for the New York Islanders?

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a number of failings across a number of issues. For the NHL, it revealed just how dependant, the league is on gate receipts. That’s not necessarily new information, we’ve known the NHL has been dependant on how many butts in puts in seats for a long time.

But now that fans can’t be in the arena until perhaps next season, what is the NHL (and its players) going to do in order to make up that lost revenue? They have to get creative. And that’s what they’re doing with ads on helmets.

Getting Creative

According to Sports Business Journal, the NHL is close to approving ads on helmets for this season. While SBJ isn’t quite sure how big those ads might be they do seem confident that the companies advertised on helmets will likely be those who already own naming rights or are top-level sponsors for the respective hockey club.

"Sources said that the helmet ads for the upcoming season are primarily designed as a make good for naming rights sponsors and founding-level type partners, subject to league approval."

For the New York Islanders that could mean UBS is seen on the player’s helmets during the 20-21 season. UBS paid $350 million for the naming rights to the Islanders new arena at Belmont Park.

Now, of course, ads on helmets won’t fill the NHL’s coffers alone. But according to this report, a helmet ad could net at least $2.5 million for an average team. That’s, at least, $80 million dollars added to the revenue pool for the league. Say what you will but that’s no small sum of money.

The report indicates that these ads might not go to market until the 21-22 season. What we see this year would be a test run before the NHL actually sells ad space on helmets.

The NHL needs to get creative in creating revenue.  With that being said they aren’t about to rock the boat. Ads on jerseys would be a much larger windfall of ad revenue but they know ads on jerseys aren’t palatable to most NHL fans. So they’re taking this exploratory step to put ads on helmets first. It’s a good step to see to see if they can make extra money. You may not like it but it’s a necessity in today’s economic climate for the NHL.

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