National Hockey League Considering Anime Partnership

National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman spoke that the League Office is considering establishing a partnership with several Japanese anime production studios. This information had spread as a rumor and on Wednesday Bettman confirmed it. If everything goes smooth, we could see anime characters on the boards as early as the start of the next NHL season, that is in September. The studios said to be involved in the partnership talks are for example Kyoto Animation, Madhouse, and J.C.Staff.

NHL’s finances are going downhill and the size of audience is on the ebb as well. NHL has been struggling in the competition with other professional leagues recent years and they are most likely willing to try any options to make more people interested in ice hockey, which would also increase the revenue. Gary Bettman says:

“Everything we do is with one goal in mind – preserving and propagating the great sport of hockey, seeing that the best players in the world get the recognition they deserve, and thrilling the fans.”

Bettman, however, tried to avoid any speculation that the deal is on the table:

“The reported negotiations are part of what is only one of a plethora of options on the table. Nothing is set in stone.”

Not everyone concerned in the League is in favor of this potential partnership. The president of a NHL team Edmonton Oilers expressed his disgruntlement about the secrecy of the negotiations, which are being held behind close doors:

“When the owners are the last to hear about the potential sale of their team, there’s a problem. When fans are the last to hear about the possibility of their mascot being turned into a pink-haired girl, there’s a problem.”

Scott Galloway, a business professor at New York University who specializes in sports marketing, says that the NHL could gain a lot from the partnership with Japanese animation studios since the masses of otaku are not interested in ice hockey, which might change if this deal were to pass.

“Otaku a very dedicated bunch, and, more importantly, are a large demographic that intersects with current NHL viewers very little. If the NHL can turn the Otaku crowd into regular viewers, advertising for their games suddenly becomes much more lucrative.”

The clauses of the contract would include broadcasting of anime during intervals at arenas as wells as on TV. People coming to watch the games would be also able to get various anime goods associated with the affiliation. The studios would each be required to purchase a 10% stake in the League. They would also obtain the right to form a board which would have the final word in what music could be played in the arenas during the games. Furthermore, the studios would get the option to redesign and rename the annual player awards.

I wonder how much would the NHL benefit from this partnership. Some otaku in the States would probably get interested and start watching and coming to the games, I believe. But I don’t think there would be enough to save the NHL from sinking into the desert of financial drought. Nevertheless, if the partnership contract really was signed, I would definitely watch the NHL games a bit more than now, just for the crack of it. Living in Europe, it’s always late at night when the games are played and watching a re-airing is not very thrilling. Furthermore, it’s just another time-killer. But being able to see Mio on the boards or Shana over the bleachers would be enough a lure to make me watch a bit.

However, I’m very skeptic about this and don’t see it very likely to take shape. Do you think that they would let anime studios take over the NHL? Can you even imagine that Ovechkin would receive the Sagara Sousuke Trophy for the best shooter, somebody would get the Kobato Trophy for the best sportsmanship, and someone else the Hayate Trophy for perseverance and dedication? I do not ^^’

Source: Bleacher Report via Sankaku Complex

No related content found.