Sportsnet expands Stanley Cup programming

The network has developed new TV and digital content to create "shared experiences" for fans, as well as new opportunities for sponsors.

Although fans are still not allowed in Canadian arenas, Sportsnet plans to bring audiences closer to all the Stanley Cup Playoff action via second-screen experiences. And with four Canadian teams in the playoffs this year, fan interest is expected to be high, so key sponsors are also developing brand integrations across channels.

Among the new content Sportsnet is offering are Kes’ House, where former NHLer Ryan Kesler will turn his house into a “hockey hangout” that will host things like watch parties and interviews with celebrities; Watch a Game with Dangle, where NHL YouTuber Steve Dangle and his guests will provide commentary for games; and Cup Keeper’s Stories, which will feature Hockey Hall of Fame curator and Stanley Cup “keeper” Phil Pritchard telling stories about the history of the Cup.

Kes’ House will air across Sportsnet’s TV and digital channels. Watch A Game With Dangle is a YouTube exclusive, and Cup Keeper’s Stories will be a recurring segment during Sportsnet’s post-season coverage, in addition to being made available online. Though not specifically tied to hockey, Sportnet’s The Show with Shawn McKenzie has debuted in time for the playoffs and will feature coverage of relevant moments.

Returning content includes fan-favourite fantasy games, including Sportsnet’s bracket contest and the Hockey Predictor contest, the latter of which features Dodge Ram as a returning sponsor.

New activations include Sobey’s, which signed on to sponsor the Home Team Heroes segment during games, with visibility in the pre-game show, on Sportsnet’s websites and the network’s social channels.

During games, TCL is the presenting sponsor of the Hockey Central pre-game shows, Scotiabank will be the first period sponsor, with GMC sponsoring the Top Performer and Inside The Game segments. In addition, beer brands Molson Canadian and Budweiser will both be running a variety of activations throughout the playoffs.

Despite disruptions by the pandemic last year, Canadians, as a whole, watched more Canadian hockey. Hockey broadcasts reached over 22 million Canadians during the 2020-21 NHL season across Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, Citytv and OMNI. Scotiabank’s Wednesday night hockey experienced a 40% increase in viewers.