NHL, players union and alumni association team up for NFT deal

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The NHL, NHL Players Association and NHL Alumni Association are teaming up to bring hockey to the NFT market.

The organizations on Thursday announced a multi-year deal making Sweet their official digital collectibles partner. Without confirming exact terms, NHL executive vice president of business development and innovation Dave Lehanski said the lucrative deal is one of the biggest licensing deals in league history. and Sweet CEO Tom Mizzone called it a “very supportive deal” for all parties.

“It became clear that we absolutely needed to have the Players Association and the Alumni Association on board so that we could really talk about the whole history of the NHL – everything that happened in the past, everything that’s happening today and everything that’s happening in the future – to create the best community and overall environment for our fans,” Lehanski said. “We’ve really come together to work in strength and create a real experience and a real partnership in the NHL.”

The partnership between the league, NHLPA and alumni is a rare sight, but one that could help boost revenue going forward, especially after pandemic-related losses kept the salary cap at $81.5 million. dollars for each of the last two seasons.

Along with US media rights deals with ESPN and Turner, as well as jersey ads coming next season to follow the helmet decals that were introduced in 2021, this is another positive step towards cap gains in the years to come once the players finish paying off the debt owed to the owners. income balance 50/50.

“When you look at the possibilities, it all makes sense,” said Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to the NHLPA general manager. “It’s a new space, it’s a new product and there’s a lot of things that are going to be new for us and for the veterans and for the NHL that we’re going to have to work on, but I’m very confident that we can do it. TO DO.

The deal for non-fungible tokens – digital memorabilia that can be bought and sold like real memorabilia – has been in the works for more than a year. The opportunity to strike a deal with all three parties to ensure the availability of music videos and other material from over 100 years of NHL history made it even sweeter for Sweet.

“It was phenomenal that they brought PA and alumni together in one consolidated and coordinated program,” Mizzone said. “That’s how you do it for the fans.”

Lehanski said it was part of the league’s efforts to boost fan engagement and the comments pointed to that area. “Certainly there was a lot of pressure and until now we had to do something” amid other leagues capitalizing on the NFT craze, he said, adding that the NHL wanted to make sure she makes a plan that lasts.

NHL Alumni Association General Manager Glenn Healy said, “This collaboration has been worth it.

Follow AP Hockey writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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Andrew B. Reiter