North American ice hockey’s NHL has brought in Chipotle, the Mexican cuisine restaurant, as a partner in a multi-year deal.

Chipotle is now the league’s official Mexican-themed 'quick service' and Mexican-themed 'fast-casual' restaurant, in a deal that marks its most substantial sports sponsorship agreement to data, and the first time it has entered into a commercial arrangement with one of North America’s major sports leagues.

The agreement is effective immediately, with the 2021-22 NHL season having started on 12 October.

The deal gives Chipotle “an array of exclusive marketing rights and designations that will connect the brand with the NHL and its fans”, including a ‘corner in-ice brand position’ during all Stanley Cup playoff games throughout the partnership, as well as the same rights, in addition to in-venue signage, at the NHL Heritage Classic game on 13 March next year.

The brand’s logo will also be displayed at prominent NHL fixtures, including the Stanley Cup playoffs and final.

In addition, the pair will “collaborate to engage fans and consumers across broadcast, digital and social media platforms”, while Chipotle will receive NHL-produced Stanley Cup appearances too, featuring photo opportunities.

Max Paulsen, senior director of business development at the NHL, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Chipotle to the NHL family to engage our passionate fans. We look forward to working together to develop innovative programs in the seasons ahead to reach new and existing fans through our partnership and providing Chipotle major brand visibility at our tentpole events.”

Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer, added: “We’re excited to support the highest level of the sport and a league that continues to grow its passionate fanbase at an accelerated pace.”

In late October, the NHL and its players’ association extended their long-standing licensing deals with Upper Deck, the Californian trading card company.

The renewed long-term agreements will see the company continue to serve as the exclusive licensed manufacturer of physical trading cards for both the league and the NHLPA.

In addition, NFT trading cards will be part of Upper Deck’s assortment of licensed NHLPA and NHL offerings in the future.

Upper Deck has held trading card licenses with the two parties since the 1990-91 season.

The NHL season began last month, with the regular campaign finishing up in June next year.