As Chief Revenue Officer, Keith Wachtel is responsible for day-to-day leadership and management of all revenue-generating initiatives for the NHL and has been a key contributor to the League’s path to more than $4.5 billion in annual revenues. He leads all global corporate partnership efforts for the NHL and assumes P&L responsibility across numerous business areas.
Since joining the NHL in 2007, Wachtel has driven more than $1 billion in revenue to the League and member Clubs, negotiating more than 40 League partners across North America and globally including MGM Resorts International, FanDuel, Apple, SAP, Dunkin, PespiCo, Ticketmaster, Scotiabank, Honda, Bridgestone, Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons, Enterprise and O.R.G. The tremendous success of the NHL partnership business has helped in securing and fostering robust broadcast and media rights agreements with NBC/Comcast, Rogers (Canada) and Disney Streaming Services (DSS). As part of these agreements, Wachtel spearheaded North American digital sales partnerships with NBC Sports, Rogers and DSS for all NHL.com, NHL Network and NHL Mobile ad sales to non-League partners.
Wachtel has also led the NHL to new revenue segments and partnership opportunities, most recently in the technology and sports betting categories. He was instrumental in the negotiation and planning of strategic, innovative collaborations with industry-leading technology providers to improve and enhance the NHL, including Apple and SAP, as well as a partnership with jogmo world to develop Puck and Player Tracking technology. In addition, Wachtel has been a driving force in the NHL’s progressive approach to sports betting, securing the League’s first official sports betting partnership with MGM Resorts International, as well as a multi-year strategic relationship with FanDuel.
The NHL, guided by Wachtel and his team, continues to generate significant revenue through its yearly event calendar, which has featured more than 29 regular-season outdoor games (11 NHL Winter Classics, nine NHL Stadium Series, four NHL Heritage Classics, one Centennial Classic and one NHL100 Classic) and includes NHL All-Star, NHL Awards, the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final. Wachtel utilizes a creative sales approach to support these assets including the continual evolution of new League and Club marketing and branding opportunities like the most recent in-ice advertising positions below the goal line.
In addition to North America, Wachtel drives NHL revenue growth internationally across preseason games played in China, as well as preseason and regular season games in Europe. An impressive roster of partners now support the NHL’s European efforts, including SAP, adidas, Scandic Hotels, Samsung, Hankook, Audi, Nocco, Blåkläder, Grano, Telia, XXL, Jungfrau and Baloise.
Prior to joining the NHL, Wachtel was Director of Business Development for the National Football League. During his six seasons with the NFL, Wachtel was involved in securing more than $300 million in long-term League partnerships. In addition to developing corporate sponsorships, other responsibilities included the sale of the NFL’s Super Bowl Halftime property and the League’s extensive calendar initiatives such as the NFL Draft, NFL Opening Kickoff and the Pro Bowl.
Prior to joining the NFL in 2001, Wachtel was the Director of Integrated Sales & Marketing for SFX Sports Group. Before working on the properties side of the business, Wachtel spent eight years from 1992-99 within some of the largest media buying agencies specializing in sports including Young & Rubicam, Bates U.S.A and Zenith Media.
In 2009 and 2010, SportsBusiness Journal named Wachtel as one of the Forty Under 40. A native New Yorker, Wachtel lives in Westchester, NY with his wife, Alison, and their two children. He graduated from the George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and later went on to earn his Masters of Business Administration from Fordham University.