In a monumental move, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has inked a historic four-year media rights deal valued at a staggering $240 million, marking a colossal leap from the league’s previous $1.5 million per year arrangement. The groundbreaking agreements with major players in the industry – CBS Sports, ESPN, Prime Video, and Scripps Sports – are set to redefine the landscape of women’s sports coverage.
NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “These partnerships fundamentally change the game for our league and the players who take the pitch each week.” She extended commendations to CBS Sports, ESPN, Prime Video, and Scripps for recognising the league’s excitement, value, and importance in the sports marketplace.
The comprehensive distribution strategy includes 118 national windows across linear and streaming platforms, offering unprecedented viewing experiences to fans. The deal, negotiated by Endeavor’s IMG and WME Sports on behalf of NWSL, aims to generate record-breaking distribution and revenue while maintaining a balance between linear and digital streaming.
Starting in 2024, NWSL fans can expect a dynamic lineup of matches distributed as follows:
- Friday night matches kick off on Prime Video, setting the tone for each regular-season weekend.
- Scripps’-owned ION network hosts Saturday night double-headers, available over-the-air in 123 million homes.
- CBS Television Network and Paramount+ stream live matches, with additional games on CBS Sports Network.
- ESPN covers matches across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes, with streaming available on ESPN+.
- A domestic direct-to-consumer package, building on the success of the 2023 international platform, ensures consistent production quality.
For the expanded 2024 NWSL Playoffs, Prime Video, CBS, and ESPN/ABC will each have rights to quarterfinals and semifinals. CBS Sports, in its fourth year of partnership, will continue to be the home of the NWSL Championship match in primetime on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.
The investment from CBS Sports, ESPN, Prime Video, and Scripps extends beyond broadcasting rights, with significant commitments to marketing and promoting the NWSL. Cross-marketing efforts among partners aim to boost visibility and engagement.
In response to this historic deal, Sean McManus, Chairman of CBS Sports, said: “Extending this partnership further demonstrates our commitment to elevating women’s sports.”
The comprehensive media rights deal reflects a paradigm shift in women’s professional sports, assuring deserving exposure for world-class athletes on the broadest stage. The NWSL, through these strategic partnerships, is set to soar to new heights, capturing the hearts of fans globally.
Photo Caption: The USA’s National Women’s Soccer League looks set to redefine women’s sport coverage with a groundbreaking media rights deal after the announcement of a game-changing partnership between CBS Sports, ESPN, Prime Video, & Scripps to set a new era for football coverage. Photo: Jordan Dolbin on X