Julie Foudy Says NWSL Media Rights ‘Will Be Huge’ For Women’s Sports


Those in and around soccer are more than bullish about the sport’s growth and potential in the United States, especially with multiple marquee tournaments coming to the country and continent through 2028.

Also fueling soccer’s steadily growing popularity in the U.S. has been the stability and advancement of the NWSL, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2022.

Welcoming a who’s who list of ambitious investors, athletes and celebrities including Alexis Ohanian, Kara Nortman, Michele Kang, Kevin Durant, Eli Manning, Naomi Osaka, James Harden, Patrick Mahomes, Billie Jean King and Serena Williams, the premier U.S. women’s soccer league is poised for further growth.

With two expansion teams—Bay FC and Boston—entering the fray in 2024 and ’26 respectively, and more to come, the league hopes the days of having to scratch and claw for visibility are long gone.

For example, the 2022 NWSL Championship was originally scheduled for a noon kickoff until league sponsor Ally upped its media investment with CBS to ensure the game could take place in primetime (8 p.m. ET) for the first time in league history. The investment paid off as it was the most-watched game in league history, averaging 915,000 viewers—a 71% increase from the prior year’s title game.

With its current three-year media rights deal set to expire at the conclusion of this season, the NWSL is expected to sign a four-year media rights deal split between ESPN, Amazon, CBS and Scripps “in the coming weeks,” according to reports. The current deal with CBS pays about $1.5 million per year, but requires the league to cover game production, an eight-figure annual expense.

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