Access to watch National Women’s Hockey League games just got a lot easier! On Thursday, Ian Thomas of Front Office Sports announced that the NWHL had signed a three-year exclusive live-streaming partnership with Twitch.
That deal will provide all of the NWHL’s games and programming for free globally on any device that can access the platform. The deal also marks the NWHL’s first-ever broadcast arrangement from which they will receive a rights fee.
Breaking: @NWHL has signed a 3yr exclusive live streaming partnership with @Twitch that will see all of the league’s games appear globally on the platform for free. It’s also the NWHL’s first broadcast deal that provides it a rights fee https://t.co/mSVjQY9Yz8
— Ian Thomas (@byIanThomas) September 5, 2019
Games will be available to stream from the NWHL’s 2019-20 season, which is scheduled to begin on October 5th. Additional content designed to “deepen the bond” between NWHL players and fans is also reported to be debuting on the streaming platform, as well as other features designed to engage fans. Some examples provided in the release are Twitch tools such as co-streaming of games, fan voting, and Twitch chat.
The NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan said in a statement, “We’re stoked to see this partnership with Twitch come to life. The options are endless. Twitch is a true partner that sees the value of investing in professional women’s hockey. Our fanbase has been growing exponentially since we launched, and the data we’ve collected over four seasons of streaming every single game has us excited to plug into Twitch’s platform. We know we’re primed for even more growth. Without question, this collaboration with Twitch will expand our fanbase, foster an even deeper community, and enhance the viewing experience.”
Head of New Verticals at Twitch, Jane Weedon, also released a statement, saying, “With its accessible players and devoted fans, the NWHL is a perfect fit for Twitch in our global efforts to grow our traditional sports verticals. We are proud to partner with the league in its mission to build the professional women’s hockey league the athletes and fans deserve.”
While the NWHL has streamed its games on YouTube dating back to the league’s founding in 2015, it had always fronted the production cost. While there were no details available regarding the rights fee that the NWHL will receive from Twitch, the league did comment that it will be split 50/50 with the players.
If you are interested in watching NWHL games on Twitch, it could not be simpler to do so. An account is not required in order to view a stream, only a link, though you can sign up for a free account on the Twitch website and subscribe to the channel to get notifications whenever the NWHL goes live. A Twitch app is also available on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire TV, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Chromecast, so there is no shortage of ways to watch.
Twitch as a platform is known mostly for streaming games — such as RMNB favorite Overwatch — and will bring the NWHL to an already strong community of millions. We are looking forward to seeing how this deal will grow further interest in women’s hockey and hopefully bring the league to a whole host of new fans who were previously unable to access it.
Headline photo: @WhitecapsHockey
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