The NHL's first TV spot promoting their mobile app on Blackberrys exclusively via Verizon

The National Hockey League

Senior Consultant--General Manager-NHL Mobile

In July of 2008, I was invited by the SVP of Broadband Programming to meet with the COO and his senior staff to explore how the league could start to build a business strategy that would create a quantum leap with their mobile business.  Below are the highlights of this 2 year assignment:

  • Oversaw the development of NHL Mobile for two seasons as acting GM
  • Grew the mobile business YOY with significant financial multiples
  • Lead mobile expert for content deals with Verizon and Bell Canada
  • Conceptualized global business plan with deployment of 24 variations of mobile apps targeting hockey fans globally via iPhone, iPad, Android, Nokia and Blackberry.
  • Initiated & developed senior level relationships for NHL with Apple, Google, RIM, Nokia, Elisa (Finland), TeliaSonora (Sweden), T-Mobile (Czech Republic & Slovakia)
  • Built internal infrastructure across all NHL key departments to deploy mobile business plan and trained 30+ NHL employees as mobile specialists for their department.
  • Executed a national search for the NHL’s first VP of Mobile
  • Achieved significant success with limited full time staffing and resources


NHL, Elisa Corp. announce partnership to provide exclusive content to Elisa's Finland IPTV customers

The NHL and Elisa Corporation, the leading Nordic communications services provider, announced a partnership Tuesday to deliver special NHL content to Finnish fans of the NHL that are also subscribed to Elisa Viihde, the most popular IPTV service in Finland.

Oct 5, 2010---As an official sponsor of the NHL in Finland, Elisa will offer its Elisa Viihde customers the popular NHL GameCenter 2010 application via IPTV and smartphones with a significant added value for Finnish NHL fans -- at a click of a button, Elisa Viihde subscribers will have access to a wide selection of content specifically focused on more than 30 Finnish-born players competing in the NHL, including Saku Koivu, Tuukka Rask, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kimmo Timonen and Antti Niemi.

The first of its kind for any major American sports league, this partnership serves a market that is quickly growing -- despite being several hours ahead of North America, visitors from Finland to have increased by 40 percent since 2009. At the same time, IPTV consumption is growing and mobile device penetration in Europe is significantly greater than in North America.

This exclusive partnership eliminates the inherent access constraint of this time-shifted Finnish audience, delivering the video, statistics and other NHL content they demand.

"With more than 25 percent of NHL players hailing from outside North America, we're seeing strong new business opportunities internationally, said John Collins, the NHL's chief operating officer. "It is our goal to shorten the distance between the NHL and its fans, regardless of where they live, and provide them with relevant content."

NHL GameCenter 2010 delivers the best tailored NHL experience for Elisa IPTV customers, providing Finnish NHL fans with star moments from Finnish players, including condensed versions of all NHL games just hours after a completed game. In addition, NHL GameCenter 2010 includes live scores; live in-game stats for every team and player; a live ice tracker that shows the locations of goals, hits and saves on a virtual hockey rink; game photos; a full-season schedule; NHL standings; NHL player profiles; archived results and stats for the current season; searchable content; a complete complement of video from the prior night's games, and a personalized experience.

"Elisa wants to provide exclusive unique TV features with content for NHL fans. This is a wonderful addition to the services provided to the Elisa Viihde customers. Elisa is a pioneer and forerunner in IPTV services, and we wish to offer our customers new and unique features. We believe that the new services will make the viewing experience even more entertaining and versatile, and viewers will have the opportunity to get more out of their TV", said Elisas Vice President Mikael Rönnblad.

NHL mobile apps top one million downloads as hockey fans go digital

Matt Hartley  Financial Post-Canada January 25, 2011 

As the National Hockey League approaches the all-star break, it’s clear that fans are embracing the new digital reality of the good ol’ hockey game.

This season, NHL fans are watching more live games online than ever before, while the league’s smartphone and tablet applications are bringing Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin to digitally savvy fans in record numbers.

As the sports viewing experience changes and fans demand more stats and deeper access to their favourite teams, professional leagues are scrambling to improve their digital offerings and push their content out to as many platforms and devices as possible.

Fans have downloaded the NHL’s trio of new GameCenter mobile applications for smartphones and tablets more than a million times since their launch in October, pushing the apps to the top of the sports categories on Apple Inc.’s iOS, Google Inc.’s Android and Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry platforms.

According to a report from the league, unique visitors to the NHL’s main site have grown 25% over last season, while the number of videos fans have watched on the site is up 128%. Between and the league’s 30 team Web sites, average monthly unique visitors now tops 21.2 million fans.

Subscriptions to the NHL’s GameCenter Live Web streaming service jumped 24% over last year, however the league did not provide actual subscription numbers.

Facebook is now the top referral of traffic to — excluding search engines — while the league’s Facebook page now boasts more than 1.3 million fans, a 633% increase over last year.

On Twitter, the NHL has more than 483,000 followers and more than 70 of the game’s top athletes are using the social media service to connect directly with fans. However, that’s significantly fewer followers than the NBA (2.2 million followers), the NFL (1.9 million followers) and Major League Baseball (1 million followers).

Still, Twitter referrals to are up more than 270% over last season and the league’s annual Winter Classic outdoor game in Pittsburgh was the No. 6 most popular Trending Topic on Twitter on New Year’s Day.

Washington Capitals sniper Alexander Ovechkin (@ovi8) remains the league’s most popular tweeter with nearly 61,000 followers.

Of course, it’s not only the league and its 30 clubs who are cashing in on the growing appetite of hockey fans for more content on mobile devices. Earlier this season, the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) signed a multi-year mobile content licensing agreement with Toronto’s Polar Mobile, giving the startup exclusive rights to produce player-specific smartphone applications.


The National Hockey League may contest its games on ice, but its new-media properties are red-hot, as the league issued a press release touting its accomplishments thus far in this young season.

The NHL said that through the first 24 days of the 2010-11 season, compared with the same period in the 2009-10 campaign, unique visitors are up 29 percent, page views 27 percent, visits 15 percent, video starts 155 percent, and articles read 77 percent.

Subscriptions to NHL GameCenter LIVE, which allows users to watch live, out-of-market NHL games via the Internet, are up 25 percent versus the same point of last season.

On the mobile front, NHL GameCenter apps have been downloaded more than 500,000 times during the first month of the season, and page views for the league’s mobile site were up 48 percent in October compared with October 2009. The GameCenter iPhone app is currently the No. 1-ranked sports app in Canada, and its iPad counterpart is No. 1 in Canada, with the free version in the United States coming in at No. 4 and the paid app at No. 5.



The new NHL GameCenter 2010 app for the 2010-2011 season made its debut today in Ovi Store. With this app, fans of the National Hockey League (NHL) can enjoy NHL-specific news and video features on the go, including: on-demand streaming of condensed games, full highlight reels, and individual play highlights of every game during the 2010-2011 season, including the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

“The NHL GameCenter 2010 app with its on-demand video capabilities shows what a diverse platform Ovi is for partner content developers seeking to offer consumers new and engaging experiences through their Nokia devices,“ says Pekka Rantala, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nokia.

Perhaps not surprisingly, demand around the world for content from the NHL continues to grow. It is worth noting that 25% of NHL players come from outside of North America, and unique visitors to from outside North America have grown by 51% year-over-year, and now account for 20% of the site’s total visitors.

”The NHL is creating a global, mobile footprint to serve fans, who have a high demand for NHL content and consume vast amounts of broadband and mobile content,” says NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins. “Partnering with Nokia to distribute our app and content in the Ovi Store is strategic to serving millions of NHL fans using Nokia phones.”

Makes perfect sense to us.

Details about the different versions of the NHL GameCenter app are available from a special landing page that has been set up:

NHL unveils global mobile lineup fit for every fan


Wednesday, 10.27.2010

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League today unveiled its global mobile line-up, which this season delivers to fans a complete line-up of mobile NHL GameCenter™ applications developed for the widest range of handsets, operating systems, tablets and carriers -- many of which are distributed by official League partners Verizon Wireless (USA) and Bell Mobility (Canada). 

The NHL GameCenter apps are the only place to get a vast selection of NHL® video on smartphones or tablet computers -- including live streaming games and in-game highlights (blackout and other restrictions apply).

A recent study by ABI Research confirms that mobile subscriptions worldwide passed the 5 billion mark. With broadband connections only at an estimated 400m, mobile the most pervasive means of distributing NHL video content globally. According to Scarborough Research, NHL fans are more likely to own smartphones than fans of any other major professional sport. In addition, tablet computers are providing rich, second-screen experiences to television viewers. In fact, Gartner is predicting tablet sales will reach 19.5 million units in 2010 before jumping 181 percent in 2011 to reach 54.8 million. By 2014, Gartner expects consumers to buy 208 million tablets. 

The NHL is servicing this growing demand by developing multiple applications on the widest range of smartphones and tablets, creating a mobile front door to the League for every fan.

"Hockey fans around the world have an insatiable demand for NHL content, and want a multi-platform experience that includes their wireless handsets and tablets," said John Collins, the NHL's chief operating officer. "Our mobile products put the best NHL content in the hands of our fans -- no matter where they live, what time of day it is or what mobile device they own."


Ranging from free to paid, beginning today the NHL is offering three versions of NHL GameCenter apps on a complete array of smartphones and tablet computers, including Google Android,BlackBerryiPhone/iTouch and Nokia handsets, and the iPad tablet (which, starting this week, will be sold by Verizon Wireless). 

The apps will be distributed through Android Market (Android smartphones); BlackBerry App World (BlackBerry smartphones); Apple iTunes (iPhone, iTouch and iPad); Ovi Store (Nokia smartphones); and Verizon Wireless VCAST (Android and BlackBerry smartphones on the Verizon Wireless network).  

With device-optimized apps, and multiple price points, the NHL is providing a mobile content experience to fit every fan, and shortening the distance between the League and its fans all over the world. 


NHL GAMECENTER™ -- a free mobile application that delivers live scores; live in-game stats for every team and player; a real time Ice Tracker™, which is a feature that shows the locations of goals, hits and saves on a virtual hockey rink; game photos; a full-season schedule; NHL standings; NHL player profiles; archived results and stats for the current season; searchable content; and a personalized experience.

NHL GAMECENTER PREMIUM -- a premium upgrade from NHL GAMECENTER offering video highlights, condensed games and live game audio in addition to those features found through NHL GameCenter

NHL GAMECENTER LIVE™ -- available today on BlackBerry and Android smartphones on the Verizon Wireless Network, this best-in-class mobile application gives subscribers access to live streams of NHL games on their mobile device along with all the content available through NHL GameCenter Premium. NHL GameCenter LIVE for iPads is due out later in 2010.

NHL GameCenter apps are not all available on all devices, due to territory and rights restrictions. 


Tablets are quickly becoming a must-have viewing companion for television and NHL GameCenter for the iPad engrosses fans in scores, stats, player profiles, and stories to create a true immersive hockey experience. Live games will be available on iPads via NHL GameCenter LIVE later in 2010.

The League is looking to be aggressive in this space and develop its NHL GameCenter apps for devices beyond the iPad such as the Blackberry Playbook and the Samsung Galaxy, which will be available through Verizon Wireless later in the year. 


National Hockey League Unveils Official NHL Ice Time™ 2010 App for Fans in Europe

NHL Fans In Europe Can Get Closer To Their NHL Countrymen And Favorite NHL Teams Using iPhone and iPod touch

March 29, 2010  NEW YORK---The National Hockey League today announced that NHL Ice Time 2010, the first official NHL™ app for iPhone and iPod touch, is available exclusively in Europe on the App Store.

“The NHL is the most international league in professional sport, and with so many of our players having European origins, the demand in Europe for the NHL has never been greater”

The app, available in more than 70 countries outside of North America, was co-developed by the NHL and its strategic partner NeuLion. The basic NHL Ice Time 2010 App is free, but includes an In-App purchase premium upgrade that enables NHL fans across Europe to wake up each morning and access a complete complement of video from the prior night’s games, through both condensed games and highlight packages.

Twenty-six percent of NHL players hail from outside of North America and nearly 20 percent of unique visitors originate from Europe, with nearly one-third of European mobile visitors to coming from an iPhone or iPod touch. In addition, European visitors to consume more video per visitor, on average, than their North American counterparts, demonstrating significant demand to keep up with the NHL game.

NHL Ice Time 2010 has been specifically designed and developed to meet this significant demand with a suite of video, audio, statistics, content and more, all in one convenient app for iPhone and iPod touch.

“The NHL is the most international league in professional sport, and with so many of our players having European origins, the demand in Europe for the NHL has never been greater,” said John Collins, the NHL’s chief operating officer. “The NHL Ice Time 2010 App for iPhone and iPod touch shrinks the distance between our game, our players and our great European fans. Our fans have an insatiable appetite for NHL content and our digital development is all about serving our fans wherever they are.”

The free version of NHL Ice Time 2010 delivers live scores; live in-game stats for every team and player; a live ice tracker that shows the locations of goals, hits and saves on a virtual hockey rink; game photos; a full-season schedule; NHL standings; NHL player profiles; archived results and stats for the current season; searchable content; and a personalized experience.

Fans can upgrade using In-App purchase to the premium version of NHL Ice Time 2010 to receive all of the functionality of the free version, plus:

  • Condensed (12-minute) versions of every NHL game;
  • Video highlights after each period played;
  • Video highlight reels at the conclusion of each game;
  • Live game radio of every game;
  • A virtual ice tracker to see where action took place and then view highlights;
  • Extensive player profiles with video highlights & detailed in-game stats;
  • A video archive with thousands of current-season highlights.

NHL Ice Time 2010 is the latest product in the NHL’s expanding digital portfolio designed to meet the demands of pro sports fans with the most mobile devices, HDTVs and broadband connections. With an emphasis on ease-of-use and access to exclusive content, including live and feature broadband video, the NHL is leveraging digital media as a primary platform to drive audience growth, partner activation and licensee/rightsholder business. In 2009, the NHL was the only sports league nominated for a prestigious Webby Award for Web site design, and the League has been recognized as one of the 10 most innovative companies in sports by Fast Company Magazine.

NHL Ice Time 2010 is available today for free from the App Store in 73 countries outside of North America on iPhone and iPod touch or at To download, the fan must have a billing address outside of North America.

Partnership Between Verizon Wireless and NHL Brings Live Game Action, Local Radio Broadcasts and More to V CAST

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and NEW YORK, Dec. 30, 2009 -- Hockey fans around the country can get an all-access pass to National Hockey League (NHL®) games, players and other exclusive mobile video content on V CAST Video from Verizon Wireless, Verizon Wireless and the NHL said today.

Watch the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® Live on New Year's Day

For the second consecutive year, Verizon Wireless and the NHL are bringing NBC Sports coverage of the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day to V CAST Video on Verizon Wireless phones.

At 1 p.m. EST on Jan. 1, the Boston Bruins® will host the Philadelphia Flyers® in the NHL's annual outdoor game to be played this season in Boston. Streaming the NBC Sports broadcast of the game on V CAST gives avid hockey fans and casual sports enthusiasts who don't want to miss a minute of the action the opportunity to watch it live, even if they are not near a television. The New Year's Day game will be streamed in its entirety and can be found on the NBC Sports channel on V CAST Video. Additional NBC Sports games will be streamed live during the remainder of the season.

Sign Up for Live Audio of NHL Games on V CAST

Beginning Jan. 1, the NHL and Verizon Wireless are giving hockey fans across the country the chance to listen to teams' local radio broadcasts live on V CAST. The audio - featuring hometown announcers and analysts - from every game will be available throughout the season and the playoffs. Fans who live far from their favorite team can use V CAST to stay on top of the action, and local fans will now have another option to hear the game. Broadcasts from select games will also be available in French.

Customers who want to sign up for live audio of NHL games on V CAST can visit for more information.

2009 NHL All STAR FAN BALLOT--FANS VOTED EARLY, OFTEN...40% from Text Messages

"While a majority of the record tally of 34 million votes were cast on the internet at, statistics show tech-savvy NHL fans turned to texting in ever-greater numbers. Over 15 million votes were recorded from nearly 4 million text messages sent by fans using their mobile phones, including 4.3 million votes -- 29 percent of the texting total -- generated during the final, frantic five days of balloting with starting berths still up for grabs."...more

NHL fans to pick the winner via text messaging when Ovechkin and foes take on Breakaway Challenge

When Alex Ovechkin attempts to defend his title in the Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge on Saturday night, Jan. 24, 2009 in Montreal's Bell Centre, he'll have to do more than just out-perform challengers such as Sidney Crosby. The competitors must win over fans in arena and those watching the 2009 Honda/NHL SuperSkills ® at home on RDS, CBC and VERSUS -- and their fellow NHL All-Stars...more