Thursday, November 09, 2006

NHL.com: shameless panhandling or economic genius?

Growing up with Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr on the Pittsburgh Penguins, I became a pretty big hockey fan in the 90s. I wish I could say I had the same passion for the game, but that's pretty hard when nobody covers hockey anymore. Inbetween FSN Pittsburgh telecasts of Penguins games, I started going to NHL.com to follow the game a little more closely. Unfortunately, I have neither Barry Melrose nor Versus "national" broadcasts in my living room to satisfy my hockey hunger. With this said, I noticed something peculiar on the bottom of the page, and I had to do a double take:



Yes, those are Google ads on NHL.com. I have no problem with Google ads, as you have probably seen. But I think there is a difference between my blog having Google ads and a major sports entity having them. The NBA, NFL, and MLB all have Google ad free pages, as well as Major League Soccer's website, mlsnet.com. My first impression was that this was a rather cheap method to gain advertising revenue for a site as popular as NHL.com. Then I remembered that supposedly no one liked hockey anymore. So I did some research:


According to Alexa.com, since the NHL regular season started on October 4th, NHL.com has received at least 30 million page views daily (Note: it becomes 30 million when you lessen the smoothing of the graph to the lowest level). That's a TON of "Fiance.com - Russian girls like hockey" to say the least. You could certainly make the argument that this practice is bush league... that the NHL is embarassing itself by not having higher advertising standards... that the NHL.com webmasters are getting kickbacks... but I would like to look at it another way:

The red line is NBA.com, the green line is NFL.com, the gold line is MLB.com, and the blue line (oh, look, it's a hockey pun...) is NHL.com. With small exceptions, NHL.com receives significantly less page views than the other three. Either Google ads revenues on NHL.com might be similar to balding, overweight men driving Lamborghinis to compensate for "below average size" (or maybe lack of attention)... or it could be cutting-edge economic genius. I'm not sure how much legitimate sponsors pay to put their ads on sports websites, but combining these forces with Google ads as an extra sort of revenue is pretty clever in my book. Look again at the graph above. Notice how much potential advertising revenue Google ads could have on the other sites compared to NHL.com. I suppose the NHL has to do everything it can to compete, whether it's shameless panhandling or economic genius. But I'll let you decide that for yourself.

1 Comments:

Blogger chrissyungaro said...

I love it...and I love you. :)

2:11 AM  

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