01/24/22: The Premier Hockey Federation breaks down its recent investments

Medias First Morning Read
Monday January 24, 2022

A $25 million investment into the Premier Hockey Federation, the home of women’s professional hockey in North America, last week drew headlines as the league received one of the largest cash infusions ever into professional women’s sports. The PHF, which rebranded from the NWHL last fall, is led by Commissioner Tyler Tumminia, who has overseen the rebranding, and the current investment (which will go to player salaries and benefits, increased facilities and practice time and added marketing growth) and will continue to lead in areas like expansion, new brand marketing partnerships and other key areas of growth. Tumminia, who spent a career in baseball before joining the PHF, got us up to speed on league business and what lies ahead.

Tumminia on how the investment impacted interest in the league: This investment is so important for the future of professional women’s hockey. The response from all of our stakeholders and the entire hockey community has been overwhelmingly positive. Everyone recognizes the significance of this commitment with genuine excitement for the growth of the game and for the athletes to earn a more livable wage and professional benefits they deserve.

On how a career in baseball prepared her for the PHF position: I think there are a lot of parallels. Being involved in sports, in any capacity, requires passion. Ultimately, we want the PHF and all of our teams to be a great place to work and play so that athletes can develop on and off the ice and be positive role models. We want to provide a fun entertainment product and be willing to challenge assumptions and traditions to meet and exceed our potential. Of course, we also have to deliver in a way that allows us to build and sustain a successful business.

On the significance of the name and brand change from the NWHL: We re-defined the league’s brand based on talent and skill as opposed to gender as a means of empowering our athletes as equals in sport. Gender equity in professional sports is an important conversation and we believe this is the right time and the right message. The league has undergone significant change since it was founded in 2015, and launching this new era helps symbolize our evolution and readiness to take the sport to the next level. No labels, no limits.

On the value the PHF brings to partners: There are many different aspects of the PHF that makes it so special. Our athletes are phenomenal and among the best in the world at what they do. The game is exciting, and they are breaking boundaries and inspiring the next generation with their abilities. We have a passionate fan base and an established footprint in five different markets across the United States and the biggest city in Canada. The PHF is stronger than ever and we’re expanding to provide even more opportunities for athletes. The growth potential for professional women’s sports, and hockey in particular, is incredible. It’s an exciting time to be involved.

On impact of the Olympics: There’s no denying the impact the Olympics have on the interest in the women’s game at all levels. Players grow up dreaming to represent their countries and compete for a gold medal with a captivated worldwide audience. It’s a unique opportunity that comes along every four years. We want people who are inspired by the sport to know that it’s being played at a high level on their screen and in their community every weekend, not just every four years.

PROGRAMMING

FOX Sports is tapping the talents of NASCAR Hall of Famer and three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart to join Mike Joy and former colleague Clint Bowyer on the network’s call of the inaugural Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum on Feb. 6 at 6p as well as the 64th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20 at 2:30p. Two-time Daytona 500-winning crew chief Larry McReynolds returns as the FOX NASCAR technical analyst, with Jamie Little and Regan Smith reporting from the pits at the Clash and Vince Welch joining the team in Daytona.

The matchup between Purdue and Indiana ranked as the most-watch college basketball game ever on FS1 on Thursday. The game saw 954,000 viewers tune in for the Big Ten matchup, according to Nielsen.

The X Games are poised to depart the ownership of the Walt Disney Company with news that an investment group led by The Najafi Companies (TNC) and MSP Sports Capital has signed a letter of intent to acquire the action sports brand. Sportico reports that in the short-term, the X Games are likely to continue airing on the Disney family of networks.

NBC Sports revealed plans for coverage of top men’s and women’s college golf tournaments this spring, lining up more than 130 hours, on GOLF Channel, including the television debut of the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Presented by PXG, marking the first all-women’s regular season collegiate golf event to be presented live on GOLF Channel. Coverage will also include the 2022 NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships, the Southwestern Invitational Presented by Topgolf, and the Western Intercollegiate Presented by Topgolf and Titleist. College Central will surround spring college golf and provide pre-round coverage leading into all events on GOLF Channel.

Clock’s ticking, get ‘em in! Nominations for the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards are now being taken for their year’s ceremony, taking place on April 19, live (hopefully) in NYC. New categories are seeking champions! Have a gander by clicking here.

SPORTS MEDIA AWARDS 2022

The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards will gather on April 19th to celebrate the initiatives that drove audiences and turned sports viewers into fans. Past winners include Coca-Cola, NASCAR, ESPN, NHL, Sports Illustrated and many more. We want to add you to this list!

ENTRY DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 16

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

UFC announced that Project Rock, the motivational performance brand created by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was named the Official Footwear Partner of UFC. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, all UFC athletes and their corner teams will be outfitted with Project Rock footwear as part of their UFC Fight Kits for use during official UFC Fight Week activities, including open workouts, ceremonial and official weigh-ins, and for use on Fight Night in the locker rooms and during their must-see walkouts to the world-famous Octagon. “UFC athletes are amongst the greatest, toughest, focused, most disciplined and hardest training athletes on the planet,” said Johnson. “Every walk to the iconic Octagon by a UFC fighter is fueled with passion, mana and the deep desire to establish their dominance and LEGACY. I am proud, grateful and humbled that my innovative Project Rock training shoe is now the official global footwear partner of UFC.”

PointsBet locked in a deal with Troon, which provides golf and club-related leisure and hospitality services. The partnership makes PointsBet the Official and Exclusive Sports Betting Partner of Troon, receiving category exclusivity across Troon’s media channels to include digital marketing via web, social, print assets as well as sponsorship of the category leading Troon App. PointsBet will also have the opportunity to conduct high brand visibility actions at participating Troon-managed facilities, including exclusive odds integrations, and will be unveiling golf-centric collaborations.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association jointly announced that LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers secured the top spots on the NBA’s Most Popular Jersey and Team Merchandise lists. Results are based on NBAStore.com sales for the first half of the 2021-22 regular season, from Oct. 19 through Jan. 12. James was followed by Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and Luka Don?i?.

ESPORTS

Call of Duty League opened play this season with the late announcement that esports operations company Esports Engine joined as the official broadcasting partner of the league. Esports Engine’s involvement will bring features that include a new and expanded pre-game show, new always-on player cameras, and live feeds of players on the HUD, among other upgrades. Esports Engine will also leverage its Ohio studio throughout the 2022 Call of Duty League Season to host on-site desk talent for Major qualifier matches.

The PUBG Corporation laid out the roadmap for PUBG Mobile esports this year with tweaks that include a new look for the PUBG MOBILE Pro League, as well as new regions in the PUBG Mobile Club Open, and an overhaul to the PUBG MOBILE National Championship. The PUBG Mobile Pro League will switch from a seasonal relegation format to a one-year cycle. The PMPL spring season will happen from January to May and will lead to the Mid-season championship in June. The fall season will happen from July to November. The year will culminate with the PMGC in December and January 2023.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

Major League Soccer reportedly entered in an exclusive negotiating agreement with billionaires Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris that would see the league’s 30th team find a home in Las Vegas, according to multiple reports. Phoenix and San Diego were among potential expansion cities named by the league.

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ON THIS DAY in
1982: Super Bowl XVI sees the 49ers beat the Bengals.

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Which Super Bowl MVP was drafted out of Delaware? Answer: Joe Flacco. Kudos:
Aymon DeMauro-ADM Media & Marketing/NY; Jonathan Galst-JG Squared Consulting/NY; Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY ; Bruce Jackson-ABC Affiliate Marketing/NY; Art Salisch-Nielsen/NJ; Erin Forfa-Marketing Doctor/Northampton; Michele Wilson-WJZ/Baltimore; Aaron Zeligson-NBC Universal/Philadelphia; Chris Eron-ViacomCBS/Riverside; Charlie Conner-KOKI/KMYT/Tulsa; Tom Doherty- T-Mobile Marketing Solutions/Chicago; Travis Wacker – ESPN Chicago/Good Karma Brands/Chicago; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Greg Moloznik=GLM Media/Scottsdale; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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