NEW YORK (Nov. 9, 2023) – The National Women's Soccer League announced today landmark agreements for its domestic media distribution with 118 national windows on CBS Sports, ESPN, Prime Video and Scripps Sports. The four-year contract with each partner will generate record-breaking distribution and revenue for the league while maximizing a mix of linear and digital streaming distribution. Endeavor’s IMG and WME Sports advised the NWSL and negotiated on its behalf.
“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,” said NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman. “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.”
Beginning in 2024, 118 matches will be distributed across the following partner platforms:
- The NWSL will begin each regular-season weekend with Friday night matches on Prime Video.
- Each Saturday night that follows will include a double-header on Scripps’-owned ION network, available over-the-air in 123 million homes.
- A package of regular season matches will air on The CBS Television Network and stream live on Paramount+, with additional matches airing on CBS Sports Network.
- ESPN will air a package of matches across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes (Spanish). 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.
The remainder of the NWSL regular-season schedule will be part of a domestic direct-to-consumer package produced and distributed by the NWSL, building on the league’s 2023 season international direct-to-consumer platform which has proven successful. All matches, regardless of where they appear, will have consistent and up-leveled production quality due to increased, and uniform, investment across all platforms.
For the NWSL playoffs, set to expand in 2024 with the addition of Bay FC and the Utah Royals, Prime Video and CBS will have the rights to one quarterfinal each, while ESPN/ABC will air the other two quarterfinals. CBS and ESPN/ABC will each have a semifinal.
CBS Sports, in its fourth year in partnership with the NWSL, continues as the home of the NWSL Championship match each season in primetime on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.
ION will air the NWSL Draft live in January. That date will be announced in the future.
In addition to each partner’s investment in the league and showcasing its matches, all have made significant commitments to marketing and promoting the NWSL, and importantly, cross-marketing each other’s scheduled broadcasts.
In addition to each partner’s investment in the league and showcasing its matches, all are committed to marketing and promoting the NWSL and its availability across platforms.
“We’re thrilled to extend our relationship with the NWSL, continuing as the home of the NWSL Championship and offering an expanded slate of matches on CBS as we build on the success of the last four years,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “Extending this partnership further demonstrates our commitment to elevating women’s sports as we continue to work hand-in-hand with the NWSL to highlight the world’s best women’s soccer players. As we prepare to present the 2023 NWSL Championship this weekend, we are excited to continue to showcase this league across our platforms for years to come and remain the ultimate destination for soccer fans.”
- Minimum of 21 Games
- Regular season:
- CBS and Paramount+: Minimum of 10 games per season
- CBS Sports Network: Minimum of 8 games per season
- CBS and Paramount+: 1 quarterfinal per season
- CBS and Paramount+: 1 semifinal per season
- CBS and Paramount+: NWSL Championship
“The NWSL is among the world's best women’s professional soccer leagues, and we are excited to showcase the league, the clubs, and the incredible athletes to sports fans,” said Rosalyn Durant, Executive Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions, ESPN. “This agreement further strengthens our leadership position as the home for women’s sports."
- 20 games
- Regular season:
- 17 regular season games per season
- 2 quarterfinals per season
- 1 semifinal per season
“The evolution of women’s sports - and specifically the NWSL - demonstrates that there is a growing audience for remarkable athletes and world-class competition, regardless of gender,” said Marie Donoghue, VP U.S. sports content & partnerships, Amazon. “With the unique power and distribution of Prime Video, and an exclusive window on Friday nights throughout the season, we look forward to expanding that audience as the newest home of the NWSL.”
- 27 games
- Regular season:
- 25 Friday night games per season
- 1 season-opening kickoff match
- 1 quarterfinal per season
“Scripps Sports is pleased to create a franchise night on ION for the NWSL that will reach every American household, across every free television platform and further help expand the league’s fan base with appointment viewing consistency,” said Adam Symson, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company. “We’re proud once again to be a part of a historic distribution agreement that will elevate women’s professional sports, benefitting the league, the teams, their athletes and fans.”
- 50 games
- 25 exclusive Saturday night double-headers on ION, games with 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET starts.
- Weekly studio show leading off each doubleheader Saturday at 7 p.m. ET
- 2024 NWSL Draft
Hillary Mandel, EVP, Head of Americas, IMG said: “On behalf of the NWSL, we have secured four game-changing, marquee partnerships that will help send the women’s game to new heights of viewership and fandom, growing domestic revenues for the League at a multiple of over 40x. The NWSL’s new line-up of media partners are stepping up with significant rights fees, production investment, top-tier platforms and impactful promotion. In lockstep with the NWSL, they are going to transform the ways in which fans can discover and engage with the games, assuring deserved exposure for these world-class athletes on the broadest stage.”
About CBS Sports
CBS Sports, a year-round leader in cross-platform sports coverage, broadcasts a portfolio of events on the CBS Television Network, including THE NFL ON CBS; college football, including the SEC ON CBS and BIG TEN ON CBS; college basketball, including the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship; golf, including The Masters®, PGA Championship and PGA TOUR; soccer, including the UEFA Champions League and NWSL; and CBS SPORTS SPECTACULAR. In addition, the division includes CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports which televises live sports programming throughout the year, including college football and basketball games, soccer matches from UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Serie A, Concacaf and NWSL, as well as a full slate of original programming and studio coverage. CBS Sports also delivers an extensive lineup of global soccer coverage on Paramount+, including every UEFA club competition match, all Serie A matches as well as Concacaf national team competitions. CBS Sports’ multi-platform offerings include CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports apps for mobile and connected TV devices; the 24/7 streaming sports news network CBS SPORTS HQ; the free 24-hour soccer streaming network CBS SPORTS GOLAZO NETWORK; 247Sports; MaxPreps; CBS Sports fantasy games; and SportsLine.
ESPN, the world’s leading multiplatform sports entertainment brand, features eight U.S. television networks, the leading sports app, direct-to-consumer ESPN+, leading social and digital platforms, ESPN.com, ESPN Audio, endeavors on every continent around the world, and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by Hearst.
About Prime Video Sports
Prime Video supports a growing lineup of live sports globally, including Thursday Night Football, the WNBA, the Seattle Storm, the New York Yankees, Overtime Elite, and the Professional Pickleball Association in the United States; ONE Championship in the United States and Canada; Premier League in the United Kingdom; ATP and WTA tennis in the United Kingdom and Ireland; UEFA Champions League football in Germany and Italy; Roland-Garros and Ligue 1 in France; Australian swimming globally; New Zealand Cricket in India; as well as Copa do Brasil football and the NBA in Brazil; and boxing and the 2023 World Baseball Classic in Japan. While availability varies by marketplace, fans can also subscribe to streaming services such as Eurosport, FOX Sports (Mexico), Viaplay Sport, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, NBA TV, DAZN (Germany and Spain), and Premiere FC (Brazil) through Prime Video Channels. This is in addition to a selection of Amazon Original documentaries including Kelce, Good Rivals, Coach Prime, Reggie, Redefined: J.R. Smith, The Ride,and the Amazon Original All or Nothing franchise, including All or Nothing: Arsenal, All or Nothing: Juventus, All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs, and All or Nothing seasons with various NFL teams, as well as the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines football team.
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-informed world. As one of the nation’s largest local TV broadcasters, Scripps serves communities with quality, objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of more than 60 stations in 40+ markets. Scripps reaches households across the U.S. with national news outlets Scripps News and Court TV and popular entertainment brands ION, Bounce, Defy TV, Grit, ION Mystery and Laff. Scripps is the nation’s largest holder of broadcast spectrum. Scripps is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps’ long-time motto is: “Give light and the people will find their own way.”
IMG is a global sports, events and representation company. It is a leader in rights management, multi-channel content production and distribution, consultancy and fan engagement; owns, produces and commercially represents hundreds of live events and experiences; and manages licensing programs for the world’s best-known brands and trademarks. IMG is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a global sports and entertainment company.
About the NWSL
The National Women’s Soccer League is the premier women’s professional soccer league in the world featuring national team players from around the globe. The clubs are Angel City FC, Bay FC, Boston, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, Kansas City Current, NJ/NY Gotham FC, North Carolina Courage, OL Reign, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Racing Louisville FC, San Diego Wave FC, Utah Royals FC, and Washington Spirit.