The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) has signed a plethora of media rights agreements for the 2024 season which commenced earlier this week.
Ahead of the opening matches of the campaign, the league has put pen to paper on national broadcasting partnerships in Canada with CBC, Sportsnet, TSN, RDS and Radio Canada.
South of the border, regional partnerships have been inked in the US with MSG Network in the Mid-Atlantic region, Bally Sports North in the Upper Midwest and NESN in New England.
Stan Kasten, PWHL Advisory Board member, said: “The visibility offered across our broadcast and streaming schedule is unprecedented in women’s hockey and reinforces the growing interest in our sport.
“Accessibility of PWHL games throughout our inaugural season is a giant win for fans everywhere. We felt it was a priority to engage a magnitude of committed partners on a variety of consistent platforms.”
The broadcast schedule for the 2024 season has been divided not just across a range of broadcasters but also along language and club-based lines, focused around different regions of North America.
In French-speaking Canada, RDS and Radio-Canada split the rights to all Montreal games, whilst the season opening match was distributed across MSG and NESN in the US and CBC, TSN and Sportsnet in Canada, with ICI TOU.TV providing French coverage.
Canadian coverage for the rest of the season will be divided between TSN, CBC and Sportsnet – including linear television and streaming on TSN+ – as well as the CBC Gem, ca, CBC Sports app and Sportsnet+ streaming services.
In the US, MSG Networks will show all New York games, NESN all Boston games – except in Fairfield County, Connecticut – and Bally Sports North all Minnesota games.
All three teams will play 24 games throughout the season, and the abovementioned regional broadcasters will distribute coverage across both television and online streaming.
PWHL explained that its approach of partnering with regional networks will allow out-of-market distribution, with the potential of Sportsnet Pittsburgh and other networks to cover fixtures ‘on a case-by-case basis’.
Prior to the season start, the PWHL also sought to update its sponsorship inventory, signing an agreement with telecommunications firm Rogers Communications. The Toronto-based business has a history of commercial deals with hockey, being a long-time partner of the NHL.