In a huge move for the NWHL and women’s hockey, the league announced a partnership with Twitter that will see 19 NWHL games live-streamed on Twitter for the 2017-18 season.
Each week, Twitter will stream a “Game of the Week” exclusively on Twitter and will also stream the 2018 All-Star Game and two of the league’s preseason games against Russia’s national team.
Games streamed on Twitter will be available exclusively on the platform while the game is in progress, but will be archived and available on Cross Ice Pass, the league’s streaming website, when the game ends. All other games not streamed on Twitter this season will remain on Cross Ice Pass as well.
Per the league’s press release:
The 19 games will be produced by the NWHL and will be exclusive to Twitter in the live windows. The schedule for the “Twitter NWHL Game of the Week” is expected to be announced in September.
The global live stream will be available for free to logged-in and logged-out users on Twitter and connected devices. Fans will be able to access the live stream at NWHL.twitter.com or on @NWHL.
This is Twitter’s second partnership with a women’s professional sports league; the first was a three-year deal with the WNBA that started this season. This deal with the NWHL is only one year, but it’s been in the works for several months now and is a giant step for women’s hockey in general and the NWHL in particular.
Streaming live sporting events on Twitter has started to become more popular for leagues and fans alike. The first WNBA game that was streamed on Twitter collected 1.1 million viewers, according to Sports Illustrated, where a view is counted “when a video is 50 percent in view for two seconds.”
For comparison, when this article was written, the 2017 NWHL All-Star Game had collected 6,243 views on Youtube.
With a partnership with a giant corporation like Twitter, will the NWHL be getting anything financially out of this partnership? Per the league:
“No further details will be disclosed by the league or Twitter... Twitter and the NWHL will collaborate on marketing and promotion of the league and broadcasts. The live stream on Twitter will also include advertising packages with TV style ad spots.”
Will the league see playoff games streamed on Twitter too? It’s certainly possible. But if the league’s goal is to get more eyeballs on the game, this partnership with Twitter is a fast and efficient way to do so.
“This is a big step for us,” said NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan. “It is about visibility and growing the game and the league. Anyone can watch us from anywhere in the world. At such an early stage of our existence, and with hopes to grow in the coming years, this partnership with Twitter is very exciting for us."