What do we want in women’s hockey?
*discordant voices rise into a Babel-esque cacophony*
...okay, let’s try again. What can we all agree women’s hockey needs more of?
On June 3, the SDHL announced a landmark TV rights deal that will put the league’s full season on Swedish television starting in the upcoming 2019-2020 season. That’s over 200 elite women’s club hockey games in the public eye as never before. The deal runs for six years.
”This is an agreement that gives us the long-term foundation we need to popularize the sport. This gives us continuity, visibility and the opportunity for greater revenue - and hopefully this means that even more people discover SDHL!” said SDHL commercial director Angelica Lindeberg in the league’s press release.
Lindeberg, cont’d: “A milestone for Swedish women’s hockey.”— Meredith Foster (@fosterwrites) June 3, 2019
Still unknown what channel the games will be on, but a deal that get a whole league’s worth of games on TV is something no women’s league in NA ever managed. Huge opportunity. #SDHL
The announcement brims with multifaceted historical significance: while both the NWHL and the CWHL saw certain games and special events aired on TV in the United States and Canada, neither one managed to secure a full-season agreement and, as such, relied heavily on streaming.
In other words, the SDHL is the first women’s hockey league in the world to achieve not only a coveted TV deal, but a multi-year one. The growth potential cannot be overstated. Making the game more accessible grows both audience and exposure while also garnering interest from potential sponsors.
Media rights company XVI Sports and production firm Sportsground joined forces for the agreement. No TV channel has been announced yet, but XVI Sports Partner Viktor Johansson mentioned “a large number of potential players” in the mix and continued, ”We promise to inform the fans in good time before the season where the SDHL is broadcast.”