The PWHL is already seeing early ROI for its inaugural season
The GIST: The PWHL dropped its first puck on New Year’s Day, and the new women’s pro hockey league is already seeing early ROI thanks to fans, sponsors, and media partners showing up for its inaugural season. A break out start.
The partnerships: Unsurprisingly, Canadians are leading the way in the PWHL craze, but it’s not just the league’s Toronto-based fans — high-profile Canadian brands are backing the league remarkably early. Air Canada became the league’s first premier partner and the first official airline for all six PWHL teams, a major power play considering the WNBA’s ongoing charter flight saga.
- Air Canada will cross-promote the league on its own platforms and feature as PWHL Montréal’s jersey sponsor. This extensive partnership adds to prior deals with CCM Hockey and Canadian Tire Corporation, which became the league’s first founding partner last September. Rollin’ with the changes.
The media partners: A new league means new media partners, as many faithful NHL networks plan to air the PWHL. After the league shared its intention to air all 72 games on traditional linear platforms, it has inked broadcasting deals with leading Canadian sports networks TSN, Sportsnet, and CBC, along with regional networks NESN and MSG Networks in the U.S.
- Plus, Bally Sports North announced on Monday that it will air 24 regular season PWHL Minnesota games through its partnership, starting with tonight’s game against PWHL Boston.
Zooming out: Pro women’s leagues like the WNBA and NWSL spent decades working up to major broadcasting partners and sponsors, but the PWHL represents the new wave of women’s sports — one where investors are signing on early and expecting immediate returns. From record crowds to transformative partnerships, everyone is leaning into the PWHL’s product. Going bar down.