NEW YORK -- The Premier Hockey Federation has reached an agreement to make ESPN+ the exclusive home for watching games in this U.S. this season, a major step forward for the women's hockey league in putting all of its games on a single platform.
The deal covers 60 regular-season games for the newly renamed National Women's Hockey League as well as the Isobel Cup playoffs. The season opens Nov. 6.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the PHF and most importantly for our athletes who deserve the exposure that a major network can provide,” PHF Commissioner Tyler Tumminia said in a statement released Wednesday. “Partnering with ESPN+ is a significant step in our history as we continue to grow the sport with a platform that will introduce our new era to a larger audience with an enhanced standard for how our games will be delivered.”
Each of the league’s six teams — the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Toronto Six and Minnesota Whitecaps — will play each opponent four times in the regular season.
The PHF said the 2021 season produced record digital viewership and engagement as part of its second year in a streaming partnership with Twitch.
“This is historic for us,” Tumminia told ESPN. “ESPN is becoming the home of hockey, right? We all wanted to be a part of that.”
The league's move to ESPN+ comes as the cable sports giant returns to broadcasting NHL games this season.
“The Premier Hockey Federation is an exciting, up-and-coming league that we look forward to presenting to hockey fans in the U.S. exclusively on ESPN+,” said John Lasker, the vice president for digital media programming. “As the top professional women’s hockey league in North America, the PHF makes a great addition to our growing lineup of hockey on ESPN+, which now includes NCAA men’s and women’s hockey, the Kontinental Hockey League from Europe and Asia, and more than 1,000 NHL games this season.”