PHF: Partners in strategic development
The GIST: The PHF (formerly NWHL) is on a power play. The women’s hockey league announced a strategic development partnership with marketing agency Octagon on Tuesday, and the parties have a wide range of plans.
The details: In addition to boosting the PHF’s profile, Octagon will aid in the league’s search for a new commissioner, as current commish Tyler Tumminia is stepping down at the end of March after just seven months on the job.
- Octagon will dedicate two teams to the PHF — its women’s team sports division and its hockey group. The parties will collaborate on overall growth, sponsorship, sales, marketing and other platform development.
The context: This isn’t Octagon’s first venture into women’s sports. The agency became a consulting partner of the NWSL in 2019, focusing on media rights and marketing strategy. The league scored a broadcast deal with CBS a mere five months later. Impressive.
Zooming out: The PHF has made serious gains recently — the league inked a broadcast deal with ESPN in 2021 and announced a $25 million investment in January. The partnership with Octagon is more than a logical next step — it’s a vote of confidence knowing stiff competition is on the way.
- The PWHPA could launch a league with the NHL as soon as next year. This future league would be home to North America’s best hockey players, all of whom have refused to play in the PHF.
- That said, there should be enough appetite for both leagues. The PHF’s Toronto Six sold for a reported $3 million to $5 million earlier this month and women’s hockey viewership and participation continues to scale.