FIH to launch new digital platform in 2019
By Jonathan Rest
The FIH, field hockey's governing body, is to launch a new over-the-top digital platform next year in a bid to give its tournaments and players greater visibility.
FIH.live will go live on 10 January, and will stream live coverage of top FIH competitions, such as the new Pro League and the World Cup, in markets where the federation has not struck media rights deals.
Andy Oram, the FIH TV and broadcast director, unveiled details of FIH.live to the governing body's congress in New Delhi, India.
The platform is marketed as being ‘athlete first’, with players' best moments to be shared instantly across FIH social media platforms.
Oram said it will also "guarantee global visibility to all hockey matches played worldwide across all 137 nations."
FIH.live will be free to access, and will be available as an app to download or accessible via the FIH website.
In July, the FIH issued a request for proposals from digital agencies to develop a mobile app, while agencies were also asked to carry out a design assessment of the website and make at least three suggestions for design improvements.
The RFP document made no mention of a live streaming element within the redesigned FIH app.
YouTube, the Google-owned video sharing platform, teamed up with the FIH ahead of last year’s Hockey World League Finals to live-stream matches from the men's and women's finals in countries where no broadcast deals were in place.
Earlier this year, the FIH signed a two-year digital agreement with Little Dot Studios, the London-based media firm, to “amplify” the federation’s content and increase its online engagement with fans ahead of this year's World Cup and Champions Trophy events.
The FIH now sells its global media rights in-house, after buying back the rights from Star India, the pay-TV broadcaster owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, in 2017 despite being only three years into an eight-year deal (Star retained rights in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal).
The announcement of FIH.live comes as the governing body launched 'Hockey2024,' its new development strategy.
The strategy has two components: 'Hockey4Life,' which is designed to encourage people of all ages and from all backgrounds to get into the sport; and 'Sticks4TheWorld,' which aims to support the first initiative by distributing 110,000 hockey sticks to new and existing Hockey4Life projects by the time of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Hockey2024 builds on the FIH's 'Hockey Revolution' strategy, which started in 2014 with the ambition of transforming the sport into “a global game that inspires the next generation,” and includes the introduction of a new event portfolio starting in 2019.
Thierry Weil (pictured), FIH chief executive, said: “The development of the game is the number one mission of every international federation. The revenues we generate as a federation have only one goal: to develop hockey worldwide. I’m delighted that congress has fully supported the strategy which the FIH has presented today in this crucially important area. This shall help our goal to grow the game on a sustainable manner.”
Also in New Delhi, Trinidad and Tobago’s Maureen Craig-Rousseau and Michael Green of Germany were re-elected to the FIH executive board, while Ghana’s Elizabeth Safoa King and former Pakistan international player Shahbaz Ahmad were new additions.