The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) have secured a four-year, $240 million USD ($324 million AUD) domestic broadcast deal with four major streaming and cable partners.
Starting in 2024, CBS, ESPN, Prime Video and Scripps Sports will nationally broadcast 118 NWSL games, and this deal also becomes the most expensive TV deal in women’s sports history which sends a strong message about its huge presence in the worlds game.
The NWSL broke several league records in this past season that completed, with record highs in membership sales, average attendance, ticket sales and single game attendance.
The NWSL has no doubt been the league to set a standard for professionalism in women’s football and no doubt the success of the US Women’s National team propelled that push to a competitive environment where the best players and coaches feature.
The financial stability of the NWSL has set an example for other women’s leagues globally, encouraging corporate investment in women’s football. The influx of financial support through sponsorships allows for the world class facilities and increased player salaries, both topics that were previously issues within the space.
NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman mentioned that this deal signifies the league’s insane growth since its inception back in 2013.
“This moment is a celebration, a celebration of how far we’ve come and far we’re headed,” Berman said via press conference in San Diego last week.
“These partnerships fundamentally change the game for our league and the players who take the pitch each week. The investment into facilities and grassroots will be vital for the foundation we aim to build.
“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.”
In a similar fashion, the A-League Women’s competition saw their record memberships tally for multiple teams smashed and round one attendances were fantastic compared to recent years. There were many positives from the Women’s World Cup that attributed to this rise however a little concern is the talent pool compared to other top leagues.
It has become an issue in the A-League Men’s competition and although the Matilda’s are a skilled, popular national team, it is increasingly rare to see talent be homegrown as most top young Australian players are pipped by US or European clubs to develop their skills.
The news of this NWSL record TV rights deal, and the compounding positives news in the Women’s football space over the last 12 months shows that there is a strong foundation that will inspire young girls to participate and support the sport.