The FIH Hockey Pro League – “Hockey at its Best!” – is the annual global League involving hockey’s best national teams in the world, Men and Women.
The best team of the season – having accumulated the highest number of points at the end of the League – is crowned Champion and receives the coveted FIH Hockey Pro League Trophy.
Since the 2022-23 season, matches are played in “mini-tournaments” where several teams gather in one venue to play two matches against each other. Furthermore, the team finishing last will be relegated at the end of the season and replaced by the winner of the FIH Hockey Nations Cup. This means that every single match and point is counting!
Being crowned champions of the FIH Hockey Pro League Season 5 will come along with a new and tremendous incentive in the form of a direct qualification for the Women’s and Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup 2026! Same goes for the winning teams of Season 6, while the Season 7 and Season 8 winners will qualify for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028!
Thanks to the FIH Hockey Pro League, hockey fans the world over are able to watch their sport for an extended period on the same TV channel or on the OTT platform Watch.Hockey (available both as an app and a web version) each year.
The competition format is identical for the men’s and women’s leagues.
Facts and figures:
The winning teams of the FIH Hockey Pro League Season 5 and Season 6 will qualify for the 2026 FIH Hockey World Cup according to the following criteria:
What happens if a team that has qualified for the World Cup through the FIH Hockey Pro League also win their Continental Championship?
As they will already have qualified for the World Cup, the quota from the Continental Championship is given to the next highest placed team at the Continental Championship (not including the World Cup hosts who have also already qualified).
What happens if the hosts (Belgium and/or Netherlands) win the FIH Hockey Pro League?
The next highest placed nation in the relevant Pro League Season, not including either World Cup host, will be offered the quota for the World Cup.
The teams that were selected to play in the first FIH Hockey Pro League were not simply the best national men’s and women’s teams in the world. Instead, we used a much broader set of criteria as part of our application process for Season 1 of the Pro League in 2019.
We set out our participation criteria very transparently, encouraging a range of nations to apply and after a thorough consultation process on our event portfolio with people from all our different stakeholder groups and different backgrounds in different countries. The aim of the process was to ensure the quality of the League and the highest possible standard of matches and events right from the start.
In late 2016 National Associations were required to submit extensive information in order to be eligible, with sustainability the key aspect of the Leagues' long-term vision.
Alongside this process, we held extensive discussions with national broadcasters regarding exposure and media coverage of hockey within each of the selected nations. We asked for detailed financial modelling, projecting budgets for both the participation in matches overseas as well as hosting matches in their homeland. Details about marketing proposals for promoting the League plus commercial strategies aimed at generating income were required, alongside evidence of financial sustainability. We also considered which nations could best offer the perfect venue stages for these teams to shine. We invited Deloitte (international specialists in audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management and tax), to provide extensive support in developing and evaluating the financial modelling.
It was an incredibly competitive, transparent and robust process, with no bidding fee to limit accessibility and gave the Event Portfolio panel some hard decisions to make in choosing the initial 9 men’s and 9 women’s teams.
Since the 2022/23 season, promotion and relegation from and to the FIH Nations Cup has been introduced so that the qualifying teams for each Pro League season going forwards are based on their on-pitch performance.
The winning team from each Nations Cup is invited to join the Pro League in the following season, and if they are unable to take up this place, the Runner-up from the Nations Cup is then invited. If neither team are able to take up this invitation then there is no promoted team and the lowest placed team in the Pro League for that season is not relegated and maintains their place for the following season.
The FIH Hockey Pro League raises the profile of all the teams involved, and therefore that of the athletes.
Having top-flight matches involving the best teams in the world, all televised and/or streamed globally, can only boost the profile of athletes.
FIH is working hard to amplify the impact of all the participating teams and athletes, within the markets of the participating nations and also globally.
The FIH Hockey World Cup - Men and Women - continues to be held every 4 years. After all, this is our tournament - we own it - and it's become one of the most prestigious prizes that exists in Hockey - it's right up there alongside winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games. Essentially the World Cup hasn't changed its purpose or its place in our calendar. It remains all about sporting excellence, qualifying for the next round and achieving the glory that can only come from winning a World Cup.
Furthermore, in order to promote competition between teams from different continents every year, FIH launched in 2022 the FIH Hockey Nations Cup, an annual event for the highest ranked teams not competing in the FIH Hockey Pro League. The winner of the FIH Hockey Nations Cup is invited to join the FIH Hockey Pro League in the subsequent season (while the team finishing last of the FIH Hockey Pro League is relegated). Thanks to this promotion-relegation principle, the League isn’t a closed one and every team can join.
Every year, the competing teams in the FIH Hockey Nations Cup are decided based on the FIH World Rankings.
We are confident that the commercial potential of the FIH Hockey Pro League is able to generate more value for the sport overall, which will filter down to all levels, including new and developing hockey nations, from elite to grassroots level.
Of course, this will take some time.
The 'power of home' is not just about where our games are held but has been fundamental to our discussions with broadcasters.
These are channels committed to broadcasting and promoting the League, enabling fans to watch consistently and always know where the FIH Hockey Pro League is being broadcast.
This marks a step change. In the past, broadcast has moved around making it difficult for fans to find hockey when they want to watch. At last, everyone now knows who the broadcaster/channels are in their home market so that fans can catch every minute of every match.
Furthermore, all games are streamed live on Watch.Hockey in every market, without geo-blocking (except in the Indian sub-continent). They’re also available on replay. This is a fantastic opportunity for hockey fans to access “Hockey at its Best” easily, either on their mobile phone or laptop.
The FIH is also committed to substantially upgrading our web presence, allowing us to give fans more of the information and interaction that we know they love. The website provides a load more stats, game data, match reviews, interviews that we know Hockey fanatics cannot get enough of. Our social media platforms are packed with live, regular, unique and engaging content before and throughout the FIH Hockey Pro League, going deep behind the scenes allowing fans to get to know the athletes better.
We invite you to watch the matches - live or on demand - and follow all news about the FIH Hockey Pro League on all FIH digital platforms. Stay tuned for Hockey at its best!