05/09/22: New PHF Commissioner Carey shared her vision for the league

Medias First Morning Read
Monday May 9, 2022

After the past week delivered new WNBA and NWSL seasons begin with great fanfare, Reagan Carey, with decades of experience at USA Hockey and with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers and NBA’s Atlanta hawks, assumed the helm as the new commissioner of the Premier Hockey Federation. The PHF has made some landmark strides in the sport in the past 18 months, but Carey’s hiring (as well as that of another hockey executive, Melody Davidson last week) signals even more advancement, as a hockey and business veteran who has worked listening to and assisting elite athletes in their continued push for a seat at the business table. As Carey starts, and the NHL playoffs continue on, we checked in with her to get the scoop.

Carey on first priorities: I am committed to continuing my effort to meet, talk, and listen to all the key stakeholders in the PHF community (players, league office staff, Board of Governors, sponsors/partners, team staff, and of course the fans). My goal in doing so, is to gain an even deeper understanding of what they personally love about the PHF and to identify the areas that need immediate attention. This, coupled with my vision, will help map out the priory task list for the coming weeks and months. In addition, more specific areas to tackle right away include – vetting our existing and future expansion opportunities, working to secure our Season 8 broadcast deal, and exploring new business development opportunities and revenue streams.

On the value PHF has for brands: The PHF is rooted in being a bold, innovative, trailblazing, and history making league. It’s the first women’s professional ice hockey league to pay players (recently securing a $25 million dollar commitment over three years from the Board of Governors). It’s the first to provide full medical coverage and benefits to players (including maternity leave). It’s the first to secure and execute a deal to broadcast a full season of women’s ice hockey. We are a league full of “firsts” and there is no sign of slowing down. People and purpose are what drives the PHF to new heights on a consistent basis. Partnering with the PHF is an opportunity to join a committed mission driven league with an aim to emerge as a leader in the thriving landscape of women’s professional sport.

On the ESPN partnership: Together PHF and ESPN answered the decades old call to action on making women’s hockey accessible to viewers for a full season of hockey. Watching and consuming PHF hockey consistently throughout the season helps us close the gap in non-Olympic years for our sport. In those moments the women’s game garners nearly 4 million views. ESPN’s commitment is critical to helping grow the sport, expand those who are regular consumers of women’s hockey and ultimately gives us the necessary platform to showcase the best of women’s professional ice hockey.

On player advocacy: The players whom I shared the journey with during my time at USA Hockey proved what a team of dedicated players can accomplish (on and off the ice). The staff (the “team behind the team”) can be elite. But it’s the players who must put the work in, it’s the players who must believe in limitless possibilities, and ultimately, it’s the players who see it through. While I do not know all the players in the PHF player pool (yet!), I know many. I have no doubt that their ambition and ability combined with the experienced and supportive PHF leadership will lead the players to be relentless in their pursuit of raising the game (on and off the ice) for women’s professional ice hockey. The USA Hockey Women’s National Team and Olympic Team members carried themselves with a commitment to being “part of something bigger”, and I expect that holds true for the PHF players as well! My grandfather was a two-time Olympian in cross country skiing and went on to coach many elite skiers. When I joined USA Hockey to lead the Women’s National and Olympic Team programs, he gave me some “golden” advice. He simply said “treat athletes like people”. His sage advice along with my own appreciation for the “power of players” and the lessons learned along the way will all be applied to the culture of excellence we will build together in the PHF.

On building the profiles of athletes: It’s essential! We must invest time and resources into building awareness and interest in player profiles, team rivalries, fan connections, and social issues connected with the league and PHF players. We have great stories to share and we are committed to using the many available platforms to showcase our premier athletes and the spirit of our league!

PROGRAMMING

Rich Strike’s upset win in the Kentucky Derby propelled NBC Sports to its top race in three years, with preliminary viewership numbers averaging around 16 million viewers across NBC and Peacock, according to the company, which would mark the bet since 2019. The network serves up the Preakness Stakes on May 21 at 4p on the two platforms.

Joe Buck confirmed reports that he would be hosting a “Manningcast” of the PGA Championship, which starts May 19. Following a report by the New York Post about the upcoming offering, which would mark Buck’s first outing under his new deal at ESPN, the broadcaster Tweeted that “It’s real. Gonna be fun. Larry David is close to committing. It will have that type feel. Very USGA.” ESPN golf analyst Michael Collins and David Moulton are also expected to be involved in the broadcast.

The Premier Lacrosse League revealed an expanded international distribution for the 2022 season. Games will now be carried across 170+ countries globally. With all 47 games available to stream on TSN.ca and the TSN app in Canada in addition to select games broadcast on TSN’s national television feeds. Games will be available to stream on Star+ (Latin America), ESPN Player (Europe, Middle East, Africa), ESPN Pacific Rim, and ESPN Caribbean.

With the WNBA season underway, the YES Network will offer up a record 27 New York Liberty games this season, starting Friday at 8p, when the Liberty host Indiana. All of YES’ 27 Liberty telecasts will also be streamed live on the YES App. Michael Grady, Chris Shearn and Zora Stephenson will share play-by-play duties, Andraya Carter and Julianne Viani-Braen will rotate in the analyst role, and Jess Sims will be the sideline reporter for select games.

MEASUREMENT & DATA CONFERENCE

New session alert for June 7th:

Impressions: The Great Equalizer?

Presented by: Mainak Mazumdar, Chief Data and Research Officer, Nielsen

FIND OUT MORE

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

UKG, a provider of HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions, and the NWSL locked in a historic, multi-year partnership, designating UKG as the first-ever title sponsor of the NWSL Challenge Cup, with the move increasing the Cup bonus pool tenfold in 2022, and the total pool will more than double again in 2023. According to the announcement, the 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup will be the first-ever women’s professional soccer tournament to achieve pay equity with its U.S. peers in the men’s game. UKG will also partner with individual NWSL athletes Christen Press and Sydney Leroux to further advocate for closing the pay gap in every field.

Kraft Heinz Canada, in partnership with the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association, named Sydney, Nova Scotia as the winner of this year’s title of Kraft Hockeyville 2022. Sydney will receive $250,000 for upgrades to Canada Games Complex, an opportunity to host an NHL preseason game, and $10,000 worth of youth hockey equipment from the NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams fund.

88sport agreed a new sponsorship agreement with the NFL to continue as the league’s official sports betting partner in the UK & Ireland until 2025. The deal will see 888sport become the exclusive presenter brand of the NFL’s apps and Fantasy products including Pick’em, the Super Bowl Challenge and Draft Predictor. Across its social channels, 888sport will also offer video content, filmed in partnership with the NFL and will offer fans exclusive prizes.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Buzzer mapped out its partnership with WNBA League Pass for the 2022 season, offering access to WNBA League Pass games via micropayments, allowing mobile-first fans to access live games through customized and curated alerts. The platform will also offer the fourth quarter of more than 30 WNBA League Pass Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase qualifying games for free outside of the participating teams’ markets.

ESPORTS

Riot rolled out plans for the League of Legends: Wild Rift Global Championship Icons 2022, running at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Center in Singapore, from June 14-July 9. The competition will see the top 24 teams from around the world square off for a share of the $2 million prize pool and the title of world champions.

Nerd Street announced an expansion of its lineup of esports camps across North America, with an eye to ‘build healthier gaming habits’. The company has now aligned itself with US Sports Camps, Esports Camps at Seton Hall University, Apprentice Esports and the City of Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The BIG3 announced that entrepreneur and investor Gary Vaynerchuk agreed to purchase 25 Fire-Tier editions of the 2019 Championship Winning Triplets, receiving ownership-like value and utility in the team. “Basketball is one of my favorite sports in the world,” said GaryVee. “I’ve been incredibly impressed with the pop culture relevance of the BIG3 league. Over the last several months I’ve been able to get closer with Cube and the rest of the team and I’m extremely excited about the impact of the Blockchain on professional sports. All of those ingredients create a scenario where I am excited to join this incredible league.”

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ON THIS DAY in
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IN THE KNOW
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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
In the original Top Gun movie, in which sport did Maverick and Goose face off against Iceman and Slider? Answer: (Beach) Volleyball. Kudos: Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY; Rick Ramage-UTA/NY; Barbara Capella Loehr-Equal Opportunity Publications/NY Ranfi Rivera-Paramount/NY; April McCarty-Event Permits/Guttenberg; Michael Goodman-Radio One Atlanta/Atlanta; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Brianne Maciejowski-Odyssey Studios/Sarasota; Bill Robertson-USHL/Bloomington; Will Allmendinger-WLEY-FM/Chicago; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Creed Heilskov-ImOn Communications/Cedar Rapids; Wendy Holmes/Denver; Tara Aviel-Access Media Services/Redondo Beach; Alissa Prewett-Streaming Content Management/Burbank; Benjamin Robinson-Media Design Group; LA; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente

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