Company: National Hockey League, New York, NY
Company Description: The National Hockey League, founded in 1917, is the second-oldest of the four major professional team sports leagues in North America. The NHL consists of 30 Member Clubs with players from more than 20 countries represented on team rosters. The NHL entertains more than 100 million fans each season in-arena and through its partners in national television and radio.
Nomination Category: Management Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Executive of the Year - All Other Industries
Nomination Title: John Collins, Chief Operating Officer
1. Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since January 1 2009 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:
In 2009, NHL COO John Collins recognized that in order for the league to
continue its impressive business growth trajectory, he needed to lead a
transformation in the way the League thought about its business, and the way it
executed it in the marketplace. Undeterred by the worst recession since the
Great Depression, Collins embraced the opportunity to launch a marketing
strategy which included:
• Integrating League-wide media and business assets and creating tentpole
events that build and leverage national scale, driving incremental revenues;
• Transforming the NHL from a licensing business to a media and content
• Creating a new marketplace for corporate partners as a solution to
reach a demographic that, according to industry research, is 40% more valuable
to marketers than the average ESPN viewer;
• Converting the passion of 53 million North American fans into revenue-
Amid the worst global economic environment in nearly 80 years, Collins
delivered perhaps the NHL’s best business performance ever during 2009.
Consider the following:
• Revenues for the NHL for FY ’09 grew to a record $2.6 billion.
• New or expanded partnerships were secured with McDonald’s, Bell, Cisco,
Compuware, Energizer, Anheuser-Busch, Reebok, Bridgestone, Enterprise, Geico,
Honda, ScotiaBank and Visa, increasing sponsorship support by an astonishing
• The NHL set an overall attendance record for the fourth consecutive
season in 2008-09 – 1.1% higher than the previous record figures in 2007-08.
• The deciding Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final on NBC was the most
watched NHL game in the U.S. in 36 years with an average American audience of 8
• NHL.com attracted more than 10.1 million UVs per month.
• The total revenue for Shop.NHL.com during the 2009 Playoffs rose 12%
• NHL GameCenter Live subscriptions increased 14% YOY; revenue is up 19%
• Twitter followers grew from zero in 2009 to more than 300,000 in 2010.
• NHL Network revenue increased 113% versus one year ago.
Spearheading the creation of the NHL Winter Classic in 2008, an annual outdoor
game played on New Year’s Day, the 2009 game delivered unprecedented success
under Collins’ leadership, demonstrating the wisdom behind Collins’ strategy to
use landmark events to build national scale for the NHL.
• It was one of the single biggest business events for the NHL in its 91-
year history, recording record growth in television ratings, partnership
activity, consumer products and licensing sales and digital media traffic.
• More than 5.6 million viewers tuned in on North America television and
more than 750,000 visited NHL.com on January 1, up 17% compared to 2008.
• NHL Winter Classic won the 2009 Sports Business Award as “Sports Event
of the Year” and was hailed by Forbes Magazine as “The Best New Sporting Event
The League has established the new model for the relationship between a sports
league and its fans. Meeting the toughest challenges, inspiring action, and
creating an entirely new model of professional sports entertainment, Collins
has made the NHL the 2009 success story of professional sports.
2. List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, [http://www.youraddress.com]:
After thin years, NHL is on solid ice again
January 21, 2009
NHL.com Named in the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Sports by Fast Company.
February 11, 2009
NHL heads for record revenue and attendance
January 8, 2009
NHL Breaks Campaign for Biggest Game of Regular Season
Winter Classic's Dose of Nostalgia Continues to Deliver for League
November 30, 2009
NHL’s attendance, TV ratings both showing increases
January 19, 2009
NHL's Winter Classic At Wrigley Scores In The TV Ratings
January 5, 2009
Stanley Cup Game 7 Wins Friday Night TV Ratings
June 14, 2009
NHL Named of the 100 Most Social Brands of 2009
January 15, 2010
Perfect timing for awards' Vegas debut
June 17, 2009
First Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs Drives Strong Business Performance for NHL
May 1, 2009
3. Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the nominee:
NHL COO, John Collins is responsible for the League’s newly integrated business
and media operations. Since joining the League in 2006, Collins spearheaded
the creation of the NHL Winter Classic, for which he was named Marketer of the
Year by Advertising Age; oversaw the development of new corporate marketing
partnerships; launched the NHL Network in the U.S.; and transformed NHL.com
into a world-class digital sports site. Prior to joining the NHL, Collins spent
fifteen years in the league offices of the NFL , where he led all marketing,
programming, sponsorship and advertising sales functions in addition to being
key component in the launch the NFL Network.