The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has launched a new fan engagement app which will stream live coverage of matches and aims to be the digital “home of hockey” for fans, players and officials worldwide.
Produced in association with content and multi-screen video company Nagra, ‘Watch.Hockey’ is available free of charge, on the App Store and on Google Play. The timing of the launch coincides with the gradual resumption of international hockey, with the Pro League re-starting on September 22.
Through the app, FIH will provide access to live matches on web, mobile and smart televisions. Other features of the app include live scores, results, statistics, personalised and trending content, as well as access to replays, highlights, archived content, and news.
The Watch.Hockey app is powered by Nagra’s ‘sports-as-a-service’ platform and follows on from a deal signed between the two parties in May. The FIH chose to terminate its five-year deal with live streaming services company MyCujoo and entered into a 10-year agreement with Nagra to deliver a new direct-to-consumer platform and digital products for the federation.
The platform will start as a free service, but the long-term plan is for users to make a ‘premium payment’ for the service once it has built its video archive and refined its content capabilities.
FIH chief executive Thierry Weil said: “Our fans and community are at the centre of everything that we do, and now we can bring the sport that unites all of us to them in an innovative way to enable a new level of engagement. Launching Watch.Hockey in the current context makes it particularly meaningful.”
Jean-Luc Jezouin, senior vice-president of sales development at Nagra, added: “We applaud the FIH for reaching this milestone and giving a new dimension to the sport of hockey in a time of so much change, when engaging with fans, players and the hockey community at large is more important than ever before.”
The FIH began a five-year agreement with MyCujoo, better known for its football-focused streaming platform, in early 2019 to create and launch the FIH.live digital platform.
At the time of the launch of FIH.live, the Lausanne-based federation said the platform would offer live streaming of all FIH competitions where geo-restrictions didn’t apply and the chance for players and teams to upload their own content to the site.
In the wake of the Nagra deal, Weil told SportBusiness that the FIH was likely to rename FIH.live to signal the evolution of the product.
Weil remarked: “The major goal is to provide one platform for hockey fans where they know this is the home of hockey, where they can get the information they are looking for and they can watch games if they are not geoblocked.”
He added that the commercial model for the Nagra deal was ‘more or less the same’ as the one entered into with MyCujoo whereby the latter provided its technology services for free in return for a share of advertising revenues.