Discover’s 24-by-12-foot air hockey table will be set up again.Benjamin Muller / rEvolution
Following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, NHL All-Star weekend is back. But the game – which will be 3-on-3 and feature a tournament made up of the best players on teams from each of the league’s four divisions – isn’t the only thing returning.
The four-day Fan Fair event kicks off on Thursday and will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For the first time, Truly Hard Seltzer – a Boston Beer Company brand and NHL sponsor since 2019 – will be the presenting sponsor.
The 300,000-square-foot space at the convention center is larger than recent years to accommodate safer social distancing among fans. Eighteen league sponsors and licensees, including the likes of Dunkin ‘, Geico, Guaranteed Rate, Navy Federal Credit Union and Ticketmaster, will be activating on-site. The number of NHL sponsors mirrors figures from prior Fan Fair events, according to the league.
“We’re always looking to enhance the fan experience, and use the brand as a platform, not just to say, ‘hey, sign up for a credit card,'” said Will Karas, Discover’s senior principal of sponsorships and marketing. but it’s more of ‘hey, we can actually make this experience for a really dedicated, passionate fan base even better.’ ”
Discover’s larger than life 24-by-12-foot air hockey table, which debuted for the 2022 Winter Classic in Minneapolis, will be set up in Las Vegas. It’s an idea originally concocted by Discover’s activation agency, Chicago-based rEvolution. Discover also expects to have several undisclosed NHL alumni on-site for fans to engage with for photos and compete against in air hockey. As of last Thursday, contract talks with talent remained ongoing.
Meanwhile, Honda is the title sponsor for All-Star weekend and the All-Star Game, which includes the 15-year league sponsor presenting the MVP with a vehicle.
“We have been following and working closely on a weekly basis with the NHL and knowing that they were going to be hosting [All-Star], we had to be there, ”said Jessika Laudermilk, senior manager of Honda Marketing. Laudermilk added that six Honda vehicles will be on display throughout the weekend as fans pass through the brand’s Fan Fair setup, which will feature multiple hockey skills challenges.
Other league sponsors such as Pittsburgh-based paints brand PPG will have a shooting accuracy game and provide branded giveaways to fans. According to Bryan Iams, PPG vice president of corporate and government affairs, the company will host customers throughout Friday’s skills competition and Saturday’s All-Star Game. Clorox, an NHL sponsor since 2021, will have branded sanitizer and hand wipe stands for fans to use throughout the convention center. Proof of vaccine won’t be required for fans to attend Fan Fair, but masks will be required for entry. The state of Nevada has designated that masks must be worn in public indoor spaces.