Last night I saw that the National Women’s Hockey League the preeminent women’s professional hockey league got in a feud with Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini. Basically it started with a tweet Nardini sent in which she was puzzled as to why the NWHL would not want to associate with Barstool Sports and I have to say that I agree with her. It does make sense from a pure business perspective to ignore the brand power Barstool Sports has.
NWHL is a growing brand in sports. They have about 55,000 followers on twitter, with the individual teams having about 10-20,000 followers each. They streamed some of their games on twitch and got about 60,000 viewers a game. Now they have a new deal with NBC Sports to broadcast games, so things seem to be looking on the up and up for the league. With any growing brand you would want to associate itself with bigger brand such as Barstool to increase viewership right? With millions of followers who love sports Barstool would seem to be the perfect partner for a growing sports league. However, the NWHL and its players would seem to disagree.
Women’s professional hockey is almost a representation women’s professional sports as a whole. The women are world class athletes for their sport, yet they basically are semi-professional athletes because of poor conditions and the fact that they make far less than their male counterparts and have much crappier conditions whether it be accommodations or training grounds. Women’s hockey has also seen its fair share of other leagues fail such as the CWHL. So it really baffles me that the NWHL would not want to associate itself with a brand such as Barstool to gain more viewers to increase revenue and brand exposure. From the players perspective they only make about 15k a year, so I assume that all the players have to get second jobs. So its surprising that they would deny the opportunity to gain revenue for the league which would increase their potential salary.
The main criticism of Barstool that I have seen is that they are racist. I have been following barstool for about 4 years I really have never seen any racist content from them. It’s that the NWHL has a problem with Barstool Sports but not Amazon. They stream on Twitch which is owned by Amazon, so I guess they don’t mind the numerous workers rights violations Amazon commits every day. That is the thing about Twitter activism everyone at the end of the day is a hypocrite. NWHL right now seems more concerned about getting retweets on twitter than growing its business which is fine by me because I don’t watch hockey.