Done Deal: The NWSL Inks a New Four-Year Media Deal
NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman and Amazon's Marie Donoghue officially locked in a major deal with CBS, ESPN, Amazon Prime, and ION on Nov. 8.
The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) has inked their new media deal to last the next four years. This is a landmark deal for the league's domestic distribution rights, estimated to be valued at $60M annually, 40 times more than the league's current $1.5 million deal.
Beginning in 2024, 118 matches will be distributed across the four partner platforms. The NWSL will begin each regular-season weekend with Friday night matches on Prime Video. Scripps Sports, owner of ION, will host all Saturday night double-headers. Additional matches will be split between CBS Sports Network and ESPN, with matches across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes (Spanish).
These four platforms will level up the production of the NWSL matches. Each game will have double the amount of cameras going forward which will ensure consistent coverage.
An additional plus is that with this deal, all NWSL matches on ESPN platforms and on ABC will stream live on ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The package also includes English, Spanish, and Portuguese language rights in Latin America.
“These partnerships fundamentally change the game for our league and the players who take the pitch each week," Berman said. "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.”
Games not on the four platforms will be on a direct-to-consumer basis with local broadcasts to make things even more accessible in local areas. The more the game can be watched, the more attendance will rise, which increases the chances that NWSL can continue to lock in deals like this in the future.
"Attendance is the rocket fuel that drives the rest of our business," Berman said.
With this, plus the addition of two teams in the upcoming season, the playoffs have also expanded to an eight-team playoff race. As decision day showed, the competition in this league is unmatched. There is more room for showcasing world-class players, and the added assets of more games made this deal too good to pass up.
And, in case you were wondering about streaming abroad, as Commissioner Berman teased, "You'll have to come back to a future Zoom."
Below is the breakdown of where games will be found for the 2024-2027 seasons:
Minimum of 21 Games
CBS and Paramount+: Minimum of 10 games per season
CBS Sports Network: Minimum of eight games per season
CBS and Paramount+: One quarterfinal per season
CBS and Paramount+: One semifinal per season
CBS and Paramount+: NWSL Championship
17 regular season games per season
Two quarterfinals per season
One semifinal per season
25 Friday night games per season
One season opening kickoff match
Once quarterfinal per season
25 exclusive Saturday night double-headers on ION, games with 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. EST starts.
Weekly studio show leading off each doubleheader Saturday at 7 p.m. EST
2024 NWSL Draft