By The Hockey Paper | Editorial
There may have been little fanfare for the opening weekend of England’s domestic season, but there was visibility abound in one part of the UK at least.
Beeston HC launched its first televised Investec Women’s Premier League game on Apple TV in a double live header over the weekend, which also featured the men’s home game the following day.
In recent seasons, we have seen the Nottinghamshire club venture into new media with aplomb.
However, this season they have decided to up the ante, with all their home matches televised live on digital platforms.
And unlike criticism levelled at sports content provider Eleven Sports’ coverage of last month’s PGA Championship, there were no apparent glitches for Beeston during their first broadcast as the Ladies took on University of Birmingham.
Down on the pitch, the tannoy sounded out the line-ups; up in the ‘Chapel’, the name given to Beeston’s media centre, graphics were neatly placed on screen.
There was a pre-match interview with Ollie Willars while lead commentator Nick Irvine was in the hot seat and gave some gravitas to proceedings.
As he signed off for half-time, with the Bees leading 2-0, the broadcast cut straight to the adverts, all with a local focus and featuring a shopping centre and college. Sponsor happy and professional.
Of course, the one worry in England Hockey’s eyes is getting TV execs excited about the domestic game with a lack of crowd attendance.
The only way the domestic scene is likely to be shown on satellite or otherwise is for a ‘Super Weekend’ style matches to be scheduled into the league calendar.
GOAL!!! Fantastic goal from Gareth Griffiths again!! The Bees now 4-0 up! ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/fwivj5wsq9
— Beeston Hockey Club (@OfficialBeeHC) September 23, 2018
While hockey can’t replicate netball’s Monday night success on Sky Sports, by hosting at one club with, say, four clubs playing double headers across men and women leagues.
But this can’t happen every weekend, which makes Beeston’s vision all the more pivotal for other clubs to act.
On Saturday, there were a few spectators with umbrellas dotted across on the terracing on the TV facing side.
Of course, the weather didn’t help and there were more in attendance for the men’s opener against Sevenoaks.
Yet for those watching from the sofas, the inclusion of local sponsors and seeing the club as a commercial entity in the technology world simply stands out against other top flight clubs.
Beeston, once again, have set a template.