Story of the Week
NEW JERSEY DEVILS ENTER FIRST OF ITS KIND AGREEMENT AND FORM MULTI-YEAR STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NWHL’S RIVETERS
Devils Will Invest in a Women’s Hockey Franchise - The New York Times
NHL partnership a step in the right direction for the NWHL - espnW
NWHL Partnership With NHL's New Jersey Devils Aims To Boost Profile Of Women's Hockey - Forbes
The story of the week was a no-brainer. The New Jersey Devils partnership with the newly renamed Metropolitan Riveters, while not entirely unique, is certainly a very big deal. Prior to this announcement, I wasn’t entirely convinced the NWHL was going to survive the season.
As is a constant theme with the NWHL, we don’t know hard numbers of the investment, and the numbers we do know are a bit weird:
Additionally, a $150 package includes lower level tickets to the Devils game and a season ticket membership to all Riveters games this season.
So a lower level ticket for the Devils part of the Devils-Riveters doubleheader — which themselves seem to retail for more than $150 — plus a Riveters season ticket package, which normally costs $150 alone. That math makes sense to someone, I’m sure. On the other hand, there’s this from the Forbes article:
“Many of our season-ticket holders called and said, ‘Hey, I want to buy my Riveters season tickets.’ What we want to do is magnify that small example of what's happened in the (first) 24 hours to our base of people that have been to Devils games. You're talking about a million-some people over the last 35 years of the team that we can actually tap into and draw them into this experience in a way that's different than the Riveters could have done on their own.”
And that’s the crux of it. More than free rent at the Barnabas Health Hockey House (which, from how some of the articles read, may not actually be new), and any other injection of cash the Devils’ owners may or may not be providing, what this partnership provides to the NWHL is an audience.
This is the unique aspect of it. While Calgary, Montréal, and Toronto promote their CWHL partners to varying degrees, this agreement encompasses actual written guarantees that New Jersey will actively promote the Riveters on multiple platforms, including during their own games, and airing Riveters games on their own digital platform. This is really awesome, so much so that Annie will swallow her complaints about how “Metropolitan” is an adjective, not a proper noun.
It’s similar to why our women’s hockey coverage hasn’t migrated to The Ice Garden. While a women’s hockey community is a great thing for people who are already interested, it’s a fairly narrow audience. You make women’s hockey not only easy to access but hard to forget for NHL fans (hi guys!), and more of them are likely to check it out. Whether or not it’s the start of a trend for the NWHL as a whole only time will tell. Ideally, this would add pressure to teams like the Bruins and Sabres to support women’s pro hockey, although based on the Bruins’ past responses that might be wishful thinking. For the Riveters and tri-state hockey fans, though, this is nothing but a win.
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