Fans wanting to witness history Sunday afternoon will be able to do so for free, as the NWHL has announced the league’s inaugural contest between the New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale will be streamed live via YouTube.
Hockey fans worldwide will be able to witness a piece of hockey history Sunday, and it won’t cost a dime.
The NWHL has announced the league’s inaugural contest between the New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale will be broadcast live via YouTube Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. ET. The game, which sold out earlier this week, will be the first contest to test out the league’s streaming service, called Cross-Ice Pass.
— NWHL (@NWHL_) October 10, 2015
The game will feature a number of big-name talents from the women’s game, too. For the Whale, the league’s highest paid player, Kelli Stack, will be in the lineup along with Yekaterina Smolentseva and Jessica Koizumi. Japanese Olympian Nana Fujimoto should get the call between the pipes for the Riveters, and Janine Weber and Lyudmila Belyakova should also be in the lineup for New York.
NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan had announced earlier in the off-season the league’s plan to offer a streaming service, but there hadn’t been official word about the service until now. Even the release of the streaming service came without much warning.
The move to make the service free is a stroke of genius by the NWHL. Offering it free of charge — at least for the 2015-16 season — could make those who normally wouldn’t shell out money to watch the new league tune in.
By getting eyes on the product, the NWHL can create and broaden its fanbase from the very first game, and keeping those fans will be easier if they’re able to watch their favorite club on a game-by-game basis free of charge. And next season, if viewership is strong, changing to a paid model could be a great revenue generator for the first paid professional women’s league.