In a groundbreaking development for women’s sports, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has announced a monumental media rights deal. This four-year contract, valued at a staggering $240 million, is set to transform the landscape of the league and women’s soccer in North America. Partnering with major media giants like CBS Sports, ESPN, Amazon Prime Video, and Scripps Sports, the deal marks a significant leap from the NWSL’s previous media arrangements.
Transforming Media Coverage
Beginning in 2024, the NWSL’s arrangement includes 118 national broadcast slots across these media channels, promising unparalleled exposure and revenue. The deal outlines an innovative broadcasting schedule, featuring Friday night matches on Prime Video, followed by Saturday double-headers on Scripps’ ION network. Additional regular-season games will be telecast on CBS and streamed on Paramount+, with ESPN showcasing matches across its platforms, including ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The arrangement also includes a direct-to-consumer package for the remainder of the NWSL’s regular-season matches.
The financial magnitude of this deal is unprecedented in the history of North American women’s sports leagues. At $60 million per year, totaling $240 million, it vastly exceeds the NWSL’s previous $1.5 million annual deal. This increase signifies a 40-times multiple, underscoring the league’s growing prominence and commercial value.
Significance Beyond the Field
The announcement coincides with the NWSL championship match, marking the retirement of iconic players like Megan Rapinoe and Ali Krieger. Rapinoe, known for her on-field prowess and off-field activism, notably contributed to the U.S. women’s successful fight for equal pay. This new media deal is a testament to the strides made in elevating women’s soccer, ensuring a stronger, more visible platform for future generations.
Expanding the League’s Reach
The agreement comes at a pivotal moment as the NWSL prepares to expand, adding clubs in Utah and the San Francisco Bay Area, bringing the total number of teams to 14. This expansion, coupled with the media deal, represents a significant stride towards enhancing the league’s reach and fan engagement.
Reflecting on the Milestone
NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman hailed the deal as a transformative moment for the league. It not only changes the game for players but also signifies a robust partnership between the league and its media partners. This collaboration aims to elevate the NWSL’s visibility and affirm its value in the sports marketplace.
This historic agreement serves as a beacon of progress in women’s sports, reflecting the growing interest and investment in female athletes. It represents a major leap forward in acknowledging and showcasing the talent and appeal of women’s soccer, setting a new benchmark for future media deals in women’s sports.