NHL Lands BlackBerry as Playoffs Sponsor

The National Hockey League has landed BlackBerry as the exclusive sponsor for its online video series, All-Access Pre-Game Show.

The series will run on NHL.com each afternoon during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which begin April 14. Taped every morning at the NHL Store in New York, the show features previews of that night’s key playoff matchups.

BlackBerry is using the sponsorship to promote BlackBerry Messenger, its IM product. During episodes of All-Access, NHL reporters and anchors will receive news and tips via the Messenger service, which they will call out to viewers.

Larry Gelfand, svp, NHL digital ad sales, said that while BlackBerry’s core business traveler base is familiar with Messenger, the company’s growing mainstream consumer audience is less so.

“The idea is to demystify Messenger and show how easy it is to use,” said Gelfand. “We also want to show how it can be relevant to NHL fans during the playoffs.” To that end, users will be able to set up Messenger groups, such as “NY Ranger Fans.”

In addition to the brand integration, BlackBerry will receive five-second pre-roll ads and banners appearing on the lower third of the NHL video player.

Besides NHL.com, All-Access will also be available on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and on several blog networks, said Gelfand.