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OLN Close to Scoring Extra Deal With Dodge

Sep 26, 2005  •  Post A Comment

OLN is close to signing a deal that would make Dodge the sponsor of the intermission reports during OLN’s National Hockey League telecasts this season.

Dodge is one of the league’s marketing partners and is committed to a certain level of advertising spending. The Comcast Network Sales staff, which sells ad time on the Comcast-owned networks, including OLN, has so far mainly been talking to league sponsors about advertising on the broadcasts.

OLN’s first hockey telecast will be Oct. 5, with the New York Rangers playing the Philadelphia Flyers. The network acquired cable rights to the NHL in August for $135 million over two years after ESPN passed on the deal.

OLN is also trying to find a sponsor for the league’s new shootouts, which will break ties if games are deadlocked after an overtime period.

“One thing that I was pleased to hear about is that over the elongated work stoppage, people stopped to think of how to make this a better game,” said Sam Sussman, VP and media director of Starcom.

With just 64 million subscribers, compared with 89 million for ESPN, advertising rates are significantly lower on OLN, sources said.

Some ad buyers also question how receptive fans will be after last season was canceled by a labor dispute between the owners and the players. “I don’t think they’re going to pick up where they left off,” Mr. Sussman said. “The network [has its] work cut out for them.”