NHL Aims for International Subscribers With Refreshed Subscription Plan

NHL, streaming, entertainment, sports, subscriptions

With consumers increasingly viewing sports games across a wide range of channels, leagues have the opportunity to grow their audiences in more ways than ever before.

The NHL, for one, is introducing a “refreshed” version of its international direct to consumer (D2C) subscription service, NHL.TV, partnering with over-the-top (OTT) solution provider Sportradar, as the latter announced Monday (Oct. 24).

The offering, available in 120 countries and territories, is meant to offer a better user experience, which includes “team-specific personalization features” including game highlights and on-demand content.

“Similar to our North American fan base, NHL international fans are extremely tech savvy and expect a premium digital viewing experience,” Stephen McArdle, NHL senior executive vice president, digital media & strategic planning, said in a statement. “Sportradar’s refresh of NHL.TV for certain international markets will help provide fans around the world with a more personalized and enhanced experience with the game.”

The news comes as sports leagues get creative in their attempts to grow their audiences across digital and physical spaces. For instance, in the United Kingdom, English soccer team Liverpool Football Club (Liverpool FC) is getting into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in partnership with French digital collectibles company Sorare. The two companies have been collaborating on “multimedia fan content” in an effort to enable the team to “engage new fans across the globe.”

Additionally, in July, the MLB shared that it would produce a show over T-Mobile’s 5G network, letting baseball fans watch players during batting practice for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, leveraging pre-game content to create additional engagement opportunities, among other such events.

Plus, in Chicago, the United Center, home of the city’s NBA Bulls team and NHL Blackhawks team, announced last year the launch of augmented reality (AR) experiences such as taking photos with digital versions of the players, a feature which the teams are also embedding in their mobile apps to drive usage.

In additional streaming news, as the September edition of PYMNTS’ Subscription Commerce Tracker series, created in collaboration with Vindicia, noted, the NFL announced in July a “yet-to-be-named, $5-per-month product that provides subscribers with live game access on mobile devices as well as access to out-of-market preseason games and other on-demand content.”

View the full report: Subscription Commerce: Economic Strains Put Nonessential Subscriptions Under Fire

Streaming on the whole appears to be in flux, with the countervailing forces of ongoing demand and rising prices. Research from the September edition of PYMNTS’ Subscription Commerce Conversion Index, created in collaboration with sticky.io, noted that, in July, streaming services lost 10% of their subscriber base on average. Yet, on Monday, PYMNTS’ CE 100 Index showed that streaming giant Netflix soared by 25% on the week.

Download the report: The Subscription Commerce Conversion Index: The Challenge Of Cheaters

Some degree of belt tightening comes as consumers’ expectations for their streaming subscription services increase. In a piece for the PYMNTS eBook “Baseline 2022: What the Next Six Months Holds,” Roy Barak, CEO of subscription management and recurring revenue platform Vindicia, noted that subscription fatigue and concern about rising prices has many consumers reconsidering their spending in the space.

Read the eBook: Baseline 2022: What the Next Six Months Holds

“Are we now seeing the start of a consumer-fatigued, post-streaming era? Not necessarily,” Barak said. “It is the start of something new: consumers who are more aware, and businesses that are more agile. Consumers who are tightening their wallets balk at friction and demand better experiences.”