Today, I was able to listen to the WCHA’s preseason media teleconference with the men’s head coaches and league officials. There were a few issues from the conference call that I found to be newsworthy and interesting for college hockey fans. One of the issues discussed is how the WCHA is going to market and showcase the league’s on-ice play. Currently, the WCHA doesn’t have a national television deal like the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and the Big Ten Hockey Conference.
I touched on this subject briefly last summer. Not all is equal among the college hockey leagues. Obviously, the Big Ten has the Big Ten Network, which could end up being a financial gold mine for the B1G. The NCHC has a decent national television deal with CBS Sports Network. Currently, the WCHA does not have national television deal.
Last June, the reconstituted WCHA held their first league meeting in Bemidji, Minnesota, and one of the major issues the conference leaders discussed was their league-wide media package. The details of that meeting were finally revealed this week.
On September, 24, 2013, the WCHA announced that it had teamed up with America One to stream online all league hockey games for the 2013-14 season. WCHA fans will be happy to know that all of the games will be broadcast in high definition. This announcement means that WCHA fans won’t be left out in the cold for the 2013-14 season. WCHA fans will be able to watch all league-member games this season if they have an internet connection.
For the tech savvy people, if you have a personal computer, a Macintosh, iPad, iPhone or an Android device, you’re in luck: you will be able to watch all of the WCHA’s games online. There’s not many of us today that can say that we don’t have one of these devices.
WCHATV Powered by America ONE Sports set to Launch for 2013-14 Season: Fans will be able to watch WCHA games l… http://t.co/Jl5NHjjmeD
— WCHA Hockey (@wchahockey) September 24, 2013
Bruce LeVine, Director of Sports Programming for America ONE Sports, was on the conference call, and he explained some of the finer points of the WCHA’s new deal.
“Starting on the east coast with Bowling Green, Ferris State or Lake Superior while watching every minute of action from the WCHA, from the east coast all the way till it finishes up in Alaska, that includes Anchorage or Fairbanks,” Levine said. “All of the games will be available on demand and available on multiscreen platforms. If you want to watch more than one game at one time, you will be able to do that as well…You can watch five games simultaneously or one after the other.”
Earlier this week, this is what WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod said about the league’s new deal.
“This is a tremendous development for the WCHA and its men’s teams,” said Commissioner Bruce M. McLeod, “and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with America ONE Sports to showcase our league, our universities, teams and student-athletes, our outstanding on-ice product and our long and proud tradition to fans everywhere. I want to commend both Bruce LeVine and the great folks at America ONE Sports and the leadership of our member teams for bringing live WCHA hockey to fruition.”
Per the WCHA site, you can purchase games by the day, month or season.
a. Day Pass – 24 hours (Noon ET of the day purchased to Noon ET of the next day): $8 per pass plus a $1 daily option for mobile delivery. Day Pass makes available all games from any given night and comes with on-demand from the previous 24 hours.
b. Monthly Pass – viewing for 30 days from day of purchase: $45 per pass plus a $1 daily option for mobile delivery. Monthly or Season Passes comes with on-demand access for previous 30 days events.
c. Full Season Pass – $150 per pass plus a $1 daily option for mobile delivery. If purchased by October 1, a Full Season Pass is available at a special price of $125. Monthly or Season Passes makes available on-demand games from the previous 30 days.
One concern about the games being on America One is quality of the online broadcasts. Having watched many broadcasts on American One over the years, sometimes the quality isn’t as good as watching a game on your home television. Currently, the Big Sky Conference has its games on American One. Personally, I have not had a problem watching those events. Hopefully, the WCHA’s broadcasts will be of the same quality.
In conclusion, this is the most exciting time of the year. Fall is here, and the college hockey season is set to kick off in 10 days when Colgate meets Ferris State in Hamilton, New York.
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.