Helmet Advertising Revenue Could Reach $15 Million For NHL This Season

Photo: @Capitals

NHL helmet advertisements made their debut on Tuesday just days ahead of the upcoming 2020-21 NHL season. It’s the first time that the league will allow sponsor ads to appear on uniforms.

According to Front Office Sports, NHL teams hope to earn more than $15 million combined with helmet ads this season. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are already eyeing $1 million sponsorship deals.

The Capitals unveiled their new helmet advertising partner earlier in the day on Tuesday. Capital One has become the Capitals official helmet entitlement partner, fulfilling a new piece of sponsorship inventory for the 2020-21 NHL season.

According to Sports Business Journal, the banking and credit card company’s branding will appear on a 2.25” x 3.75” decal on the right and left side of Capitals’ helmets for home and away games as well as practices throughout the campaign.

When asked if Capital One was spending any additional money with MSE or if the one-year helmet arrangement with the Capitals was a make good, President of Business Operations & Chief Commercial Officer Jim Van Stone said “We have a pretty integrated deal with [Capital One] overall on a variety of different aspects. I would say this goes to the overall value of the relationship that we have.”

Van Stone added that there’s a couple of opportunities he sees with the helmet decal: broadcast value and social media coverage, which includes both player content and team content that offers more exposure for Capital One.

Front Office Sports says Analytics firm Navigate estimates that a season of space on NHL helmets will be worth as much as $2.5 million in fair market value for an average team.

The NBA started putting ads on jerseys in the 2017-2018 season and has generated more than $150 million in revenue with the program.

The American Hockey League, the development level below the NHL, has had helmet ads since the mid-1990s.

The NHL needs helmet ads to provide some financial relief from the pandemic’s impact on the league and its 31 clubs.

  • The average value of an NHL team dropped 2% to $653 million in 2020, the first decline since 2001
  • The league generated $4.4 billion in revenue last season, down 14% year-over-year
  • Operating income totaled $250 million, down 68% year-over-year
  • Nine teams saw double-digit operating losses, up from five during the 2018-19 season.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning, defending Stanley Cup champions, posted an operating loss of $11 million.

The league will use the upcoming season to gauge actual revenues from the helmet advertising campaign, and to assess other future advertising options for the future.

In. August 2017, Capital One acquired naming rights for 10 years to the Capitals’ arena and now supports the broader Monumental Sports & Entertainment portfolio, according to President of Business Operations & Chief Commercial Officer Jim Van Stone.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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