Following its inaugural season, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has announced a new $240m broadcast rights deal with several major networks.
The NWSL has agreed a four-year agreement with Amazon, ESPN, CBS and Scripps to broadcast games in the US up until 2027, which sees an enormous 3,900% valuation increase per year, jumping from $1.5m to $60m per season.
CBS – who have renewed its deal with the women’s soccer league – will continue to air NWSL games on its pay-TV channel and the Paramount+ streaming service as the league’s flagship broadcaster.
New broadcasters, such as Amazon will showcase regular season matches on Friday nights, whilst Scripps’ Ion channel will show free-to-air games as double-headers. ESPN also owns a package that will show NWSL games on ABC, ESPN and ESPN+.
Games not selected for national broadcast will air on the NWSL dedicated direct-to-consumer streaming service, which has already been in effect for international audiences.
NWSL playoff matches will be split between CBS, ABC and ESPN as CBS will host the NWSL championship game. All four broadcasters revealed their commitment to cross-promoting women’s soccer for the betterment of the sport.
“These partnerships fundamentally change the game for our league and the players who take the pitch each week,” said Jessica Berman, the NWSL Commissioner.
“On behalf of the NWSL, our owners and players, I want to commend CBS Sports, ESPN, Prime Video and Scripps for investing in our league and affirmatively declaring to the marketplace that this league is exciting, valuable, and important.
“We have taken great care to ensure our games are discoverable by increasing our reach in order to expose new audiences to everything that makes our league special, without compromising the economic value of our product. This is the beginning of our future.”
The NWSL recently wrapped up its first season under its new rebrand, which saw Gotham FC beat OL Reign 2-1 in last weekend’s championship game. The game was also the final match of Megan Rapinoe’s career, as the two-time world cup winner was forced off due to injury.
The league has seen considerable interest from notable investors since its rebrand, with celebrities such as James Corden, Jessica Chastain and Eva Longoria all investors in Angel City FC. The Los-Angeles-based club is reportedly the most valuable franchise in the league, with a valuation of $180m, according to Sportico.
Other investors in NWSL clubs include sports stars Serena Williams – in Angel City FC, and Kevin Durant – in Gotham FC.