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November 19, 2006

NHL Partners with YouTube

Over the summer, I had the unique opportunity to work for the Chicago Blackhawks in a marketing capacity. The Blackhawks are an NHL team with a problem: nobody in Chicago really cares about the Blackhawks. Once, yes, but now... Not so much.

A lot of what we talked about was how to market the game to the fans in an interactive manner. How could we get them in contact with the players in ways beyond the game itself or the tv broadcast?

The result was youtube. Could we somehow put our highlights on youtube to let internet users have instant access to highlights at nearly no (bandwidth) cost to us?

Well, as it turns out, the NHL decided to take that idea and run with it. In spite of resistance by Major League Baseball and the National Football League (and their decisions to force youtube to take their content down), the NHL has decided to let users see what the game has to offer, and can you really blame them?

How can you not be at least a little bit excited when you see something like that?

There's no question that this is a good move for a league that desperately needed to make one. NHL.com already has one of the best league websites for streaming videos (including every goal scored by every player this year, conveniently organized by the player), but by using youtube, fans can record and upload their own highlights or compilations, bringing them a bit closer to the game.

In addition, they've partnered with Google video (which, of course, basically owns youtube, so why it is different confuses me) to allow the streaming of full games to google video users. What remains to be seen is if people will pay for the games - which is allegedly the plan, but for right now it is a brilliant idea.

I wish the page would be advertised more heavily, but as someone that wants to see the NHL succeed in this, I'll take what I can get. In a few weeks, after they start charging, I hope to revisit this to see whether or not the idea paid off for google or the NHL.

Posted by moday at November 19, 2006 07:07 PM

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