On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams speak with John Boynton, owner of three Premier Hockey Federation teams, about his interest in women’s hockey and the growth of the league.
Boynton is president of Firehouse Capital, and co-founder of a number of companies in Russia. He discusses his background and how he got into women’s hockey—his wife played on the hockey team at Harvard, and they billeted some members of the U.S. national team in the run up to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
Boynton is an investor in three PHF teams—the Boston Pride, Toronto Six and Metropolitan Riveters—part of a recent push to have every franchise owned by private investors, as opposed to the single-entity model initially used by MLS or NWSL. The league, formerly the NWHL, is expanding with two more teams, on the heels of record sponsorship commitments and new broadcast deals. Boynton breaks down how the teams make money, and how that may change with further growth.
“Women’s sports have been considered an unprofitable backwater for too long,” Boynton says.
To help accelerate growth, Boynton and the other governors recently committed $25 million to be used by the league over the next three years. That money will help fund an expansion in salaries and healthcare, plus infrastructure and facilities upgrades. Each team will also put 10% of its equity toward an investment pool owned by the league's players, allowing the athletes to share in the league's financial success.
He also talks about his future as a three-team owner. The league constitution, written prior to last season, allows ownership groups to own multiple teams only for a limited period of time. Boynton said his group is "really acting as foster parents for two teams right now," until permanent ownership comes along.
Lastly, he answers an important question: Is Russian president Vladimir Putin really that good at hockey?