The NWSL announced a media rights deal that will net the league 40 times what it was already bringing in. Boardroom dives into the details.
There’s no longer a question about whether women’s sports in the United States is on the rise. That was established long ago. If you’re still not convinced, look no further than the massive media rights deal that the NWSL announced on Thursday.
Beginning next season, the NWSL will take home a reported $240 million. The deal is worth 40 times the revenue earned under its current deal with 118 national windows across four networks. CBS Sports, ESPN, Prime Video, and Scripps Sports have collectively agreed to a four-year contract with the NWSL — a signficant commitment, but still a short-term agreement that positions the league to make even more in the near future.
“These partnerships fundamentally change the game for our league and the players who take the pitch each week. 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,” NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said in a statement. “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 timing here is perfect for the NWSL. Bay FC and the Utah Royals will begin play next season. That will bring the league to 14 teams, with a 15th, based in Boston, to follow in 2026.
According to a press release, the 118 national matches will include:
- Friday night matches on Prime Video and a minimum of 27 regular season matches
- A Saturday night doubleheader on ION (owned by Scripps), totaling 50 games
- A minimum of 21 matches on CBS Sports, including the NWSL championship. Paramount+ will air accompanying streams.
- 20 matches across ESPN’s family of networks, including ABC, ESPN Deportes, and streaming on ESPN+ in English and Spanish
Remaining NWSL matches will be part of a domestic direct-to-consumer package that the league will produce and distribute.
ESPN, CBS, and Prime will share postseason broadcast duties, while Scripps will carry the 2024 NWSL Draft.
Before the new media deal kicks in, however, the NWSL must first finish its current season. Megan Rapinoe and the OL Reign will face Ali Krieger and NJ/NY Gotham FC on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in San Diego. The match will air on CBS.
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