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NWHL secures first media rights fee after signing Twitch streaming deal

The National Women’s Hockey League is continuing to bounce back from a troubled off-season by announcing an exclusive live-streaming deal with the Amazon-owned Twitch. Financial terms of the three-year partnership were not announced.

Beginning with the Oct. 5 start of the 2019-20 season Twitch will stream all NWHL regular season, Isobel Cup Playoff, and special event games. Twitch will also work closely with the NWHL to provide new fan engagement opportunities that enhance the live game viewing experience.

Of note, the NWHL is receiving a media rights fee for the first time in its history. As part of the recent agreement with the NWHL Players’ Association, all sponsorship and media rights revenues will be split 50-50 between the league and players.

“This is a huge step for women’s hockey. Getting visibility on professional women’s hockey has been extremely important. The more eyes on the women’s game, the more fans we convert,” said NWHL Players’ Association executive director Anya Battaglino.

The five-team, US-based NWHL – which has endured financial struggles since its 2015 formation – is continuing despite the fact that more than 200 of the world’s top female ice hockey players pledged to not compete in North America this season in an attempt to gain better pay and working conditions.

Many of these players will instead take part in the rival ‘Dream Gap Tour’, which was organized by the newly-formed Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association.

Despite suggestions the league could collapse, the NWHL has now secured a deal with Twitch as well as new corporate partnerships with ice cream sandwich brand Chipwich and nutrition brand Veda, as well as renewal of its deal with NYU Langone Health.