The National Women’s Soccer League in the United States announced this week that they have signed a landmark, multi-year media rights agreement, in which CBS Sports and Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch have acquired the rights to exclusively present all NWSL matches for the next three years, beginning with the upcoming 2020 season.
CBS Sports will deliver a total of 87 NWSL matches in 2020 across CBS, CBS Sports Network, and CBS All Access, CBS’s subscription video on demand and live streaming service.
14 of the games will be shown on the CBS mainstream network, the first time a U.S. broadcast network will present live, national coverage of women’s professional club soccer in the United States.
In a move which is very much of the future, Twitch will present 24 free matches during the 2020 NWSL regular season.
Twitch will also serve as the NWSL’s exclusive international media rights partner outside the United States, making all 108 regular-season games, the playoffs, and championship available to global viewers.
The NWSL and Twitch will collaborate on additional league and player-related content and original programming opportunities to enhance the overall fan-viewing experience and continue to grow women’s professional soccer around the world.
“The NWSL is elated to partner with CBS Sports and Twitch, two incredible media companies with a proven track record of award-winning coverage,” said Lisa Baird, Commissioner of the NWSL.
“This new media-rights agreement is a watershed moment for women’s soccer in the U.S. and around the world and is the first time NWSL matches will be available to such a wide audience. We are excited to work with CBS with its rich history, tradition and storied innovation to utilize the power of their multiple platforms to reach more fans. We also are eager to team up with Twitch to showcase the brightest stars in the sport. These partnerships will continue to amplify the NWSL and its teams on a national and international stage.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the NWSL as we further expand our sports content on Twitch,” said Michael Aragon, SVP of Content at Twitch. “Their players are the greatest athletes in their sport from around the world and we are thrilled the NWSL chose Twitch as their home to build a bigger community of soccer enthusiasts.”
“We are excited to partner with the National Women’s Soccer League, bringing one of the top women’s sports leagues to CBS Sports,” said Dan Weinberg, EVP, Programming, CBS Sports. “This deal will showcase the strength of CBS’ multi-platform assets across broadcast, cable and digital by bringing marquee games, including the Semifinals and NWSL Championship to CBS, CBS Sports Network and CBS All Access. We look forward to using our reach across all our platforms to highlight many of the best soccer players in the world.”
Coverage of the 2020 NWSL season begins Saturday, April 18 at 1 PM ET (6 PM Dublin time) on CBS and CBS All Access, when Megan Rapinoe and OL Reign take on Rose Lavelle and the Washington Spirit at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. That is followed by a rematch of last year’s championship game between Julie Ertz and the Chicago Red Stars and Sam Mewis and the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, April 18 at 7 PM ET (Midnight Dublin time) on Twitch.
Twitch is similar to YouTube in terms of ease of accessibility and can be viewed from any phone, computer or smart TV at twitch.com.
This promises to be a real winner for Women’s football and for the mainstream adoption of streaming as a channel for sport.
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