NWHL Commish Bullish On New Partners, Streaming Deal
The NWHL kicks off its fifth season next month, and Commissioner Dani Rylan has led the league to a "new streaming deal with Twitch," as well as a "number of new league partners," according to Hailey Salvian of THE ATHLETIC. On securing new partners, Rylan said, "There was one league for brands, players, investors, supporters and fans to commit to, so there was an influx of interest that presented itself after the CWHL folded." Meanwhile, Rylan said the league is "excited to have fun on Twitch and introduce pro women’s hockey to an incredibly new fan base." The league is facing a boycott from more than 150 of the top professional women’s players, and Rylan said, "Even with all the turbulence this offseason, we’ve closed significant deals, increased player salaries and the 50-50 revenue share with the players, [which] we believe is a sustainable, fair, viable formula that will allow us to grow at a smart rate." She added, "We’ve paid women over $3 million to date to play pro hockey, and there isn’t another organization in the world that can say that. So, we’re not slowing down, we’re going to continue to do that and we welcome any and all who want to do that with us." On whether or not she has considered folding the league to let the NHL step in, Rylan said, "Why would we do that? ... I wake up every day trying to build and grow this business, not consider dissolving it for a hope or for the triumph of hope over reality" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/9).
TENSIONS RISING: In Boston, Marisa Ingemi wrote one thing "remains the same from a year ago: Women’s hockey is fragmented." The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association has "made clear its mission is to create and play under a sustainable business model and it doesn’t believe that’s the NWHL." The "animosity between the PWHPA and NWHL is, apparently, at a point of no return with the former expressing no desire to interact with the latter." Rylan said, "They made clear that they (PWHPA) basically want to destroy our business in hopes of another opportunity. We don’t believe that destroying a women’s league is the best path forward." She added, "We would love to meet with the PWHPA and the women leading that charge, but it’s been disappointing to learn they don’t want to work with us at all." Ingemi noted there has been "zero communication between the PWHPA and the NWHL Players Association, despite desire on the latter’s end to collaborate." The upcoming PWHPA tour across North America "won’t make any revenue for the players." However, sources "hinted at discussions for a Premier Lacrosse League style model" for the '20-21 season (BOSTON HERALD, 9/8).