NWHL deal with Discover marks biggest sponsor partnership in league history

NWHL writer for Sportsnet Marisa Ingemi joined Tara Slone on Top Of HER Game to discuss the history of the NWHL, the growth of women’s hockey and the 2021 NWHL season in Lake Placid, NY.

The NWHL announced a new partnership with Discover Financial Services on Friday morning, marking the league’s largest-ever sponsorship deal.

“The partnership between Discover and the National Women’s Hockey League is an important moment in our league’s history,” commissioner Ty Tumminia said in the NWHL’s press release. “This will be a collaboration to push for progress and we look forward to working with our new partner as the NWHL continues to grow.”

In addition to Discover having a strong on-ice advertising presence during NWHL games, it will also be the official presenting sponsor of the Isobel Cup when it’s awarded to the league champions on Feb. 5. The NWHL is halfway through its condensed, two-week 2020-21 season, which opened Jan. 23 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

As the primarily U.S.-based league continues to grow, sponsors are integral to its success. The NWHL’s unique business structure, which designates half of all league sponsorship revenue directly to its players, means investors in the league can directly and tangibly reach its athletes.

Women’s hockey has seen a boost in sponsors in the past few months, as detailed by reporter Marisa Ingemi earlier this week. The PWHPA announced back in October a partnership with Secret, allowing it to return for another season of its Dream Gap Tour.

The NWHL’s release did not include financial terms of the new pact.

Discover has invested heavily into professional hockey overall. It is also a major sponsor of the NHL — the league temporarily re-aligned (and renamed) its divisions in an effort to lessen travel during the 2020-21 COVID-shortened season, with Discover being the title sponsor of the NHL’s Central Division.

“Discover has long been a sponsor of hockey at all levels, and we are honoured to become the Official Credit Card of the National Women’s Hockey League,” Kate Manfred, Discover’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said in the release. “We look forward to presenting this year’s Isobel Cup and supporting the continued growth of the NWHL, and the sport of hockey overall.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.