International Hockey Federation launches Watch.Hockey app to create universal home of hockey

The International Hockey Federation has launched a new app, bringing all of its existing and new content together under one roof -Watch.Hockey

The International Hockey Federation (FIH), the world’s governing body for the sport of hockey, has launched a fan engagement app that creates a new digital home of hockey for the millions of hockey fans, players and officials worldwide.

Developed with Nagra, Watch.Hockey launched on 17 September. It is free of charge on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Speaking at a press briefing, FIH chief executive Thierry Weil, commented on the reason it developed the app.

“What was missing a little bit was somewhere the hockey fans can go and look up what they want to know from hockey,” he said. “This app and this OTT [platform] will provide those kind of elements.

“The combination of OTT together with the broadcasters we have I think is the right mix, because our broadcast partners are extremely relevant for the live games, and the games as such in different territories, but when we’re talking about the live games on our OTT [app, Watch.Hockey], there is a lot of additional content there.”

The timing of the Watch.Hockey launch coincides with the gradual resumption of international hockey, with the FIH Hockey Pro League restarting on 22 September 2020 with Germany versus Belgium.

Weil said that as well as live matches, scores, stats, live reporting, news, personalised content in a ‘For You’ section, and trending content, historical footage as well as FIH news and articles will be added to the content on the app soon.

Additionally, a chat facility is set to be added to the app in coming months, Weil said: “We don’t know when the full [number of] spectators can go into watch games, so this portal will help people to interact, to be informed, to follow, [and] hopefully the chat function can be added soon, to be honest, in the app as well, so people can start chatting to each other and just exchanging. People will have a portal to go to, so they don’t have to look in different areas in five or six different ways of getting information.”

To increase the audience for hockey overall the clubs within FIH will be given direct access to the app so they can show their own content within their territories. Said Weil: “I’m really convinced [this app will be a success] because it’s something which we have done on multiple areas before; we had our OTT [platform] but we did not register people [to use that], we had our social media parts, we had YouTube parts, but it was a little bit all over [the place] and in different areas. What we’re trying to do here is get it all under one roof, to make it easy for hockey people [fans] to go to Watch.Hockey. Not FIH; to Watch.Hockey. This is the platform for me, for hockey, for hockey fan, hockey club and for hockey player.”

He continued: “Our fans and community are at the centre of everything that we do, and now we can bring the sport that unites all of us to them in an innovative way to enable a new level of engagement. Launching Watch.Hockey in the current context makes it particularly meaningful. I encourage the global hockey community to download the app now and start enjoying its rich, diverse and exciting content. I want to thank our partner Nagra, whose teams have been by our side all these months to make this project a reality.”

Added Jean-Luc Jezouin, SVP sales development for Nagra: “We applaud the FIH for reaching this milestone and giving a new dimension to the sport of hockey in a time of so much change, when engaging with fans, players and the hockey community at large is more important than ever before. We are grateful to be a part of the return of hockey to the pitch, bring the best hockey content to millions of fans worldwide, and deliver a digital platform to help hockey grow and prosper.”

The Watch.Hockey app is powered by Nagra’s sports-as-a-service platform, which allows the FIH to harness the power of the sport’s passion and unite the leagues, clubs, and players for greater fan engagement to create an all-embracing sports experience in line with FIH‘s vision.

The FIH is the world governing body for the sport of hockey, recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Founded in 1924, FIH today has 137 member National Associations.

Nagra is an independent provider of content protection and multiscreen video solutions.

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