Over 7,000 hours of hockey have been broadcast in 2016. Whilst FIH events make up a large proportion of this coverage, an increasing number of events being hosted across the world are being broadcast as interest in hockey continues to grow at all levels.
In recent months, event hosts along with national and continental organisations have been busy agreeing partnerships which has seen an incredible amount of hockey broadcast around the globe.
Hockey World League Round 1 events have been taking place throughout the year, Singapore and Chiclayo, Peru streaming many of their matches live via FIH YouTube in what was the first stage of Hockey World Cup 2018 qualification.
Continental events also proved popular, with the Pan American Junior Championships held in Toronto, Canada in May streamed live via FIH YouTube while the Euro Hockey League continues to attract viewers, the latest event from Banbridge in Ireland being streamed via www.ehlhockey.tv.
More and more National Associations are also agreeing partnerships for coverage of their events. Australia continues to lead by example, with numerous international test matches and their national league being covered.
They worked with Epicentre.tv to produce and broadcast a number of international and national matches, whilst also assisting with negotiating international TV distribution rights. This saw them secure a partnership with Fox Sports Australia who broadcast live coverage of the Trans-Tasman Cup series (Australia played New Zealand's men’s and women’s teams in Auckland, New Zealand), the Men’s Four Nations Series (Australia played India, New Zealand and Malaysia as part of the International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne) and the Hockeyroos’ three Test match series (Australia played India women in Melbourne) in November.
Hockey Australia Chief Executive, Cam Vale, said the broadcasting deal has expanded hockey’s audience and opened the potential for new sponsorship, commercial and marketing opportunities. He said: "The Kookaburras (men) and Hockeyroos (women) have consistently been among Australia’s best performing and most popular international teams and the arrangement with Epicentre.tv has allowed us to take the sport to new levels across all areas of the sport."
Epicentre.TV Chief Operating Officer, Luke Campbell, said: "We’ve worked with Hockey Australia for the past two years and helped them take the broadcasts from a low scale livestream to live TV coverage that is sure to be a great ratings success due to the popularity of the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos. Each event has seen an increase in viewership and this is only going to see the sport continue to grow in popularity with the live TV broadcasts on Fox Sports."
In addition to these international matches, domestic fixtures have also been shown, including the Australia Hockey League finals and events in Victoria and Queensland amongst many others.
This is a concept followed by many other nations as well, including the Japan Hockey League which were broadcast earlier in the year.
Belgium also showcased broadcasters appetite for hockey coverage as Eleven Network won the right to broadcast their rematch of the Rio 2016 Olympic final against gold medal winners Argentina. You can read more about this particular match here.
This latest coverage is just a small selection of the hockey that has been broadcast over recent months. Many more organisations have helped broadcast hockey through various channels in what is a key growth area within the sport.
All of this provides further evidence that interest in the sport is growing at great speed, and with increased coverage, broadcasters are refining, improving and expanding their production of the sport, giving viewers a greater understanding of hockey and subsequently greater engagement.
This is a crucial component of the Hockey Revolution, with a key initiative of this strategy aimed at improving production and distribution of hockey coverage.