Details surrounding the NWSL TV deal that comes into effect in the 2024 campaign are starting to emerge. Previously, news broke that there would be four broadcasters in charge of bringing the league to American TV screens. Those are CBS, ESPN, Amazon, and Scripps. Reports indicate the length of the new NWSL TV deal is four years, as it runs through the 2027 season. It is a significant change from the current exclusivity deal with CBS that expires at the end of the 2023 season.
However, NWSL will be a major beneficiary of taking on this TV rights deal. At least, that is the case financially speaking. The incoming media rights deal yields a hefty increase in the yearly revenue generated. The Sports Business Journal reports the fee those four are charging hovers in the low eight figures. In other words, it will be over $10 million per season. By comparison, the previous NWSL deal with CBS brought in $1.5 million per year.
While it is far lower than most men’s competitions, it is exponential growth for the league in a short period of time. ESPN, Amazon, and Scripps are trying to get in on the growth of the league that CBS helped develop. According to Front Office Sports, CBS viewership of the league rose 21% by the halfway mark in 2023. That was before the Women’s World Cup may have brought further attention to the competition. Likewise, match attendance across the league climbed 48% in the first half of 2023.
The playoffs for the 2023 NWSL season are just around the corner. Those could bring further attention to the league ahead of this deal, too.
First hint at formatting details for new NWSL TV deal
In the past, CBS put all NWSL games on Paramount+, the CBS Sports Golazo Network, CBS Sports Network, or CBS. Occasionally, there would be games available on Twitch. However, the vast majority of games belonged to CBS’s channels. Therefore, you knew where to look when it came to watching the NWSL.
Now, that simplicity is gone. This does have benefits for the league in funding and exposure to different audiences. Moreover, there are details regarding some of the locations for games on the new NWSL TV deal.
Each of the four broadcasters will have a selective package. ESPN will carry games on its television channels, and Scripps will do the same. Amazon will have a ‘game of the week,’ speculatively on Fridays, available on Twitch or Prime Video. CBS will have television coverage of the semifinals and finals of the league.
The NWSL TV schedule will become clearer as the 2024 season nears. That starts in the spring.
PHOTO: IMAGO & ZUMA Wire
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