PWHL lands three key partnerships as U.S. companies increase sponsorship in league
(Gist Sports, The)
The GIST: The PWHL just keeps winning. This week, the women’s hockey league signed the Women’s Sports Network (WSN) as its first U.S. national broadcast partner and brought on two financial services companies — Bread Financialand Discover. Literally getting this bread.
The details: These inaugural partnerships follow a similar format: Discover’s logo will feature on PWHL Minnesota helmets, while Bread Financial’s will adorn PWHL New York’s lids. Both deals include in-arena signage and promotions across the league’s three U.S. teams in Minnesota, Boston, and New York.
- Adding to the similarities, both companies secured PWHL broadcast activations with digital integrations, but they differ when it comes to social media. Discover will produce mini mic content to showcase player personalities, while Bread will sponsor a “Save of the Game” highlight segment.
The history: Discover has been a player in pro women’s hockey before, namely through its ties to the PHF, a PWHL predecessor. After becoming the org’s official credit card sponsor in 2021, Discover extended its partnership into the 2022-23 season to become the PHF’s helmet sponsor and the first broadcast presenting partner of PHF games on ESPN+.
- While Bread Financial has primarily teamed up with men’s sports in the past, it has demonstrated an interest in cultivating women’s hockey fandom. Through its partnership with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, the company introduced the Hockey For Her program last year.
The trend: While Canadian sponsors bought into the PWHL early on, U.S. sponsorship has been expanding since the league’s January puck drop. The WSN deal signifies a growing U.S. commitment as the first American national broadcasting partner for the PWHL, but is still behind Canada’s deals with three linear television networks.
Zooming out: The PWHL is unique because its ecosystem is responding in real time. After garnering record attendance, teams are leveling up to bigger arenas and sponsors are jumping in mid-season after seeing instant ROI. It’s a date.