The NWHL has signed a one-year deal with Chipwich to become the official ice cream sandwich of the league.
It represents the first deal for the NWHL since it announced earlier this year in conjunction with the NWHLPA that it would be splitting all revenue from league-level corporate partnerships and media rights deals 50/50 with the players.
As part of the deal, Chipwich will sponsor select intermission activities during games and receive significant social media promotion, plus additional activations.
Fifty percent of the revenue from the deal with Chipwich, the ice cream cookie sandwich that was relaunched in 2018 by parent company Crave Better Brands, will be given to players under contract, providing them with additional income beyond their existing salaries.
The league declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal.
“The players’ split of the revenue for this season is one of the most influential things the players will experience as we grow the NWHL,” said Anya Battaglino, who is the director of the NWHLPA. “The players are directly benefiting from these sponsorships, allowing them to become pioneers and brand ambassadors and also be paid for their status and treated as true professional athletes.”
The deal is a bit of sweet news for the NWHL in what has been a challenging 2019 thus far following the conclusion of its fourth season in March.
On March 31, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, the only other professional women’s hockey league in North America aside from the NWHL, made the decision to discontinue operations due to financial issues.
In May, more than 200 women’s hockey players from both leagues made a joint statement saying that they would not participate in any professional women’s hockey league in the 2019-2020 season, and instead would be seeking out a more sustainable league. Included in that group are players such as Kendall Coyne-Schofield and Hilary Knight.
Also in that month, the NWHL’s partnerships with both Pegula Sports & Entertainment and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment were severed in regards to the teams in Buffalo and New Jersey, respectively.
However, the NWHL has committed to playing this upcoming season, which is set to begin on October 5.
“This business always comes with challenges for anyone with the determination to work in it, but our love for the game, belief in our goal to show the value of women’s hockey, and our immense respect for the players always emboldens us,” said NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan. “I have to say, I’ve never been prouder of our players, investors, partners and my colleagues with the league and our teams. The commitment to pulling in the same direction has been awesome.”
Rylan said that the league will have “more deals to announce before the start of the regular season and in-season as well,” adding that “the commitment to pulling in the same direction has been awesome.”
“Everyone is working non-stop and collaboratively, including on sponsorship deals. The result is that we’re going to have a great fifth NWHL season starting in October,” she said.