NEW YORK -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman literally rang in a new multiyear partnership between the League and Anheuser-Busch on Tuesday.
Commissioner Bettman and Nick Kelly, an Anheuser-Busch vice president, rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange at 4 p.m. ET to mark and celebrate the agreement that named Bud Light an official beer of the NHL in the United States and Budweiser an official beer of the League in Canada.
The Commissioner, who has rung the closing bell at the NYSE and Nasdaq Stock Market numerous times to announce a variety of partnerships and to promote League events, said the Stock Exchange was the ideal location to announce this particular agreement because of the connection between the League and Anheuser-Busch.
"It draws attention to the fact that we both have extraordinarily powerful brands and relationships, passionate relationships with customers and fans, and [the NYSE] brings it all together," Commissioner Bettman said. "This is a very symbolic place to get the attention of the world."
Kelly, who was part of his first closing bell ringing, echoed that sentiment.
"It's special because for us it personifies how big of a deal this is for us," said Kelly, Anheuser-Busch's VP of partnerships, beer culture and community. "It's important for us to be here at the League level with the Commissioner and everybody else to show our system as well as fans that we're serious about this partnership. This isn't just another partner. We don't normally announce partnerships or do these types of things. We hope this shows we're committed to the fans and the sport itself."
Anheuser-Busch has local partnerships with 24 NHL teams, but the global agreement with the League expands its reach and includes opportunities at all major NHL events, including the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas on Jan. 1.
In addition, Anheuser-Busch will be present across the NHL's broadcast and digital platforms.
"What we're most excited about is in addition to the 24 teams that A-B has relationships with we now have an opportunity to activate together around our big events, around the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs, around the Stanley Cup," Commissioner Bettman said. "They activate magnificently and, more importantly, effectively. For us to be doing it together is great for both of our brands."
Kelly called the partnership with the NHL "a missing piece in our hockey ecosystem." He said the plan is for Anheuser-Busch to have a large presence at the major NHL events like it does the Super Bowl.
"Our ability to go out there now and celebrate the Stanley Cup and celebrate the All-Star Game and the Winter Classic, some of the best events in sports, rally around those the same way we do the Super Bowl and everything else, is big for us," Kelly said.
In addition to ringing the closing bell, Commissioner Bettman did interviews with CNBC and Cheddar, a live streaming financial news network, on the Stock Exchange floor.
The Stanley Cup arrived in time for the television interviews, but travel delays prevented it from being there for the ringing of the closing bell as originally scheduled.