- The National Hockey League has partnered with Copenhagen based DreamHack Sports Games.
- DreamHack will operate the NHL’s esports events as well as create new gaming initiatives.
- Esports are a growing revenue source for sports leagues worldwide.
Sports teams and leagues of all types and at all levels are seeking new revenue streams in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did the pandemic and resulting lockdowns severely impact existing revenues it served notice of the importance of expanding revenue streams beyond the traditional sources. Sports betting has been one beneficiary of this trend which is serving to further integrate it into the mainstream. Another beneficiary is esports–not only are esports hugely popular and lucrative but the thinking is that by embracing them it is a way to attract a new generation of fans to other sports properties. There’s also a convergence of the two with esports betting booming in popularity at sportsbooks worldwide.
The National Hockey League has been ahead of the curve in their leveraging of sports betting to grow revenues and engagement and now they’re turning their attention to esports. The NHL has entered into a partnership with Copenhagen based DreamHack Sports Games to broaden their presence in the booming esports ecosystem. DreamHack will be charged with operating live and online esports events such as the NHL Gaming World Championships.
Beyond that, there looks to be a lot of initiatives that still need to take concrete form. A press release announcing the deal talks about a joint effort to ‘attract new sponsors’ from ‘endemic esports categories’ as well as ‘across the international sports landscape’. DreamHack is well versed and extremely experienced in esports and the Sports Games division was founded to leverage that foundation into the virtual sports space. The NHL got into the esports game in 2018 via the NHL Gaming World Championships. Currently, DreamHack Sports Games operates competitions for a number of the topic Nordic professional soccer leagues including Denmark’s eSuperligaen, Sweden’s eAllsvenskan, the Netherlands’ eDivisie. They also operate a golf esports competition called The European Etour in conjunction with European Tour and Topgolf Entertainment Group.
Chris Golier, Vice President of Business Development and Innovation at the NHL, says that DreamHack Sports Games is uniquely qualified to build on the success of the Gaming World Championships:
“We have built a great base for competitive gaming at the NHL over the past three years and have seen our Gaming World Championship capture the attention of fans and gamers across the globe. This partnership with DreamHack Sports Games will help to strengthen our brand in the gaming ecosystem as they provide world-class production resources and longstanding relationships in the industry.”
Roger Lodewick, CEO of DreamHack Sports Games, is excited to expand his company’s roster of partnerships into professional hockey:
“This cooperation with the NHL is a landmark moment for us. It is a confirmation of the innovative work everyone at DreamHack Sports Games has been doing in the Sport Gaming vertical. We’re genuinely proud and privileged to work with the NHL team to produce and jointly sell these amazing NHL esports properties.”
We’ve known for awhile that esports and virtual sports technologies will be a big deal for not only sports but sports betting. Look for more convergence of this type coming sooner rather than later.