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NWHL releases Twitch viewership data for first month of 2019-20 season

Total viewers, where they’re from, and more

Buffalo Beauts player Sara Bustad and Boston Pride defender Lauren Kelly during a game in Boston, MA on Oct. 12, 2019.
Michelle Jay

Today, the NWHL released Twitch viewership numbers across its two channels for the first month of the 2019-2020 season. This is the first of a three-season deal the league has with the Amazon-owned live streaming site.

In the first four weeks of play, there were 949,065 total viewers of 14 NWHL games on Twitch. This averages out to 67,790 viewers per game.

The highest viewed game was the Oct. 12 Buffalo Beauts at Boston Pride game at 145,172 viewers. This was the Pride’s home opener. They won, 4-2.

Viewers are tuning from all over the world as only 60 percent of the views are from the US. Ten percent are in the United Kingdom with another 9 percent in Canada. The remaining 21 percent was unreported.

Over the two accounts, there are 5,752 “registered followers” who have sent 24,538 chat messages over the 14 games. Many games have seen the broadcasters interacting with the chat both by responding on the streams and in the chats as well.

“These numbers are a solid start for the NWHL, proving that Twitch has been a remarkable partner in shining a bigger spotlight on our players and teams,” said NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan. “There’s no doubt that having all of our games on Twitch has helped the game of hockey reach new fans. Now it’s on all of us to continue to build our community and connect with the great fans of the NWHL.”

The first month of streaming hasn’t been without (expected) hiccups. At times, the stream has lag times or the audio will be unsynced from the video. Boston streams appear to not be able to to sustain a game clock. The Connecticut Whale did not have a custom emoji for the paid subscribers to use. These issues have become less and less, however, as the broadcast teams get used to their new set ups and troubleshooting the issues.

A big advantage since moving to Twitch has been the integrated chat feature. Similar to YouTube, the chat room is directly next to the video, making the experience of talking to other fans easy. This also allows the broadcasters to respond to messages and engage viewers in a new way. Increasing this engagement - and finding new ways to do so - will be key for the league to keep growing their community.

This is the first time the NWHL has released such stats during the season, something many have asked for in the past. It marks another step towards greater transparency. At the end of last season, the league reported the average viewerships for the YouTube and Twitter Game of the Week streams was 70,000 for the 80 games.