The women’s pro hockey landscape will be unified next year in top markets across the U.S. and Canada, building on rising trends in women’s sports.
Fans’ interest in women’s sports has been increasing — from viewership to sports betting — most recently around the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Now, women’s hockey has its chance to benefit from that momentum.
The Professional Women’s Hockey League, a merger of two competitions under the ownership of Los Angeles Dodgers controlling owner Mark Walter, will begin play in 2024 with franchises in New York, Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.
More details are forthcoming on arenas and team branding, but all six of those cities have NHL franchises. And while the NHL wouldn’t comment to Front Office Sports about any specific role it has in helping select cities or in future collaborations with franchises, the league said it looks forward to working with the PWHL.
Next up for the PWHL will be sealing a media rights deal for the broadcasts of its games.
The Premier Hockey Federation — one of the assets Walter acquired — had a deal with ESPN that was set to run through 2024. However, that deal does not carry over to the PWHL, ESPN confirmed to FOS. The PWHPA, also owned by Walter, broadcasted various events across outlets like NHL Network and regional sports channels.
The 2024 season will include 24 regular-season games per team, and six players per team will be able to sign three-year contracts worth at least $80,000 annually.