Thursday, June 20, 2024

Hockey Matters: Has BT Sport broadened appeal of the sport in England?

Amsterdam — Is English hockey getting value for its TV deal with BT Sport? The broadcaster holds the rights to all FIH properties until next June, including the current women’s World Cup, but given the limited profile of the sport behind subscription TV (despite the wealth of hockey produced by the FIH Pro League), surely it’s time to think to the future.

Since 2018, the most viewed hockey event on BT Sport has been the peak audience of 122,000 for the England v Ireland Women’s World Cup match in July 2018, with an average of 62,000.

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  1. Netball is having success with its domestic tournament on Sky, whilst hockey’s domestic competition is entirely absent from TV. The international coverage on BT Sport is good, but it’s not enough to sustain interest

    If we want to follow netball’s example then that is a root and branch reform – it means a regional franchise model which would be disruptive to the current club set up at the highest level.

  2. I think BT Sports’ coverage of the World Cup has been good – I do have some issue with the way they’ve promoted hockey on their channels in the past, but cannot complain with what they’ve offered during this tournament. The lack of interest outside of BT Sport is a concern though – whilst match reports from England and Ireland games are posted on the BBC website (good), they are often sparse (bad); and a cursory look on the Guardian and Times websites didn’t reveal a single mention of the tournament, this despite England being a potential medal candidate at the tournament.

    I’d class BT Sport as one of the ‘big three’ sports broadcasters in the UK (along with Sky Sports, and the BBC); so having hockey on the platform should not be sniffed at; the lack of coverage beyond this is what concerns me the most TBH.

  3. Hockey had a spell on sky sports a few years ago who have a 24 hour news channel that would be able to promote it with news articles, stories and highlights, so people can get a feel for it and draw them in to watch live matches. It then moved to BT who do a good job showing the big events, but they need a team up with bbc, who can give it a higher profile on their website and show highlights packages there too. Would also like to see a more fan friendly club scene as the top league is made up of uni clubs and clubs from obscure places that don’t really draw people in, apart from the club members and a few locals.


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