Dentsu nets rights to first non-U.S. NHL game

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LONDON -- Dentsu Inc., the world's fourth biggest advertising agency, has acquired the exclusive marketing rights in Japan for the first official National Hockey League game ever to be staged outside North America.

Game One '97 Japan, the NHL's official opening game, will be played between the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Vancouver Canucks on October 4 and 5 at the National Yoyogi Gymnasium.

Dentsu's package includes NHL broadcasting and event-staging rights and exclusive rights to license. The ad organization has also secured usage of the NHL logo in advertising, such as TV commercials, as well as the domestic distribution rights for NHL- produced home-use videos.

Satellite broadcasting station WOWOW will televise the game live and TV Tokyo will show it prerecorded.

Dentsu claims the game is big news in Japan, partly because some of the players involved are expected to make up a Dream Team that will compete in the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano in 1998.

The organization also predicts that the event will boost awareness of ice hockey in the country, potentially creating a hot new market among young people for hockey wear as fashion items.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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