Good news for out-of-market college hockey fans: All 140 WCHA men's conference games will be available worldwide and in HD through your computer or mobile device.
The news comes Tuesday as the college hockey conference, which stretches from Alaska to Alabama to Ohio, announced a partnership with America ONE Sports to create WCHATV to stream conference games. WCHATV is the first-ever conference-wide broadband initiative.
"This is a tremendous development for the WCHA and its member men's teams," said WCHA Commissioner Bruce M. McLeod in a statement released by the conference. "We couldn't be more excited to partner with America ONE Sports to showcase our league, our universities, teams and student-athletes, our outstanding on-ice product and our long and proud tradition to fans everywhere. I want to commend both Bruce LeVine and the great folks at America ONE Sports and the leadership of our member teams for bringing live WCHA hockey to fruition."
WCHATV complements many of the local television deals the ten member schools have to broadcast games. Fans can watch those games locally or pay to stream on WCHATV if it isn't available. Multiple pricing structures exist.
From the release:
Fans can buy any of three pass levels - Day Pass, Monthly Pass or Full Season Pass (see special Full Season Pass offer below) - for either mobile or PC/MAC devices. All passes include on-demand viewing. Any pass purchased will allow fans to watch all WCHA events played in WCHA venues during that time period. Only live events can be viewed on mobile devices. For each game sold on a pay-per-view/pass system basis to individual users throughout the season, the price structure for the regular season is as follows:
- Day Pass - 24 hours (Noon ET of the day purchased to Noon ET of the next day): $8 per pass plus a $1 daily option for mobile delivery. Day Pass makes available all games from any given night and comes with on-demand from the previous 24 hours.
- Monthly Pass - viewing for 30 days from day of purchase: $45 per pass plus a $1 daily option for mobile delivery. Monthly or Season Passes comes with on-demand access for previous 30 days events.
- Full Season Pass - $150 per pass plus a $1 daily option for mobile delivery. If purchased by October 1, a Full Season Pass is available at a special price of $125. Monthly or Season Passes makes available on-demand games from the previous 30 days.
A previous attempt to stream all games with Fox Sports failed when bugs postponed the start of Fox Sports Go (Fox Sports' comparable streaming service to ESPN3) last month.
The streaming also lacks in comparison to the national television deals the other two western conferences have. CBS Sports Net will broadcast 18 National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) games this season while 34 Big Ten games will be broadcast across BTN and the ESPN family of networks. WCHATV is closer to NHL Game Center where fans have to pay. It is a vast improvement upon the previous option, though, since the games are available. College hockey fans win in that regard.
The WCHA begins its 62nd season this season with ten teams. Five colleges from the defunct CCHA - Alaska, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan - alongside independent Alabama-Huntsville join Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State,
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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate