NWSL announces Game of the Week Partnership with Lifetime Channel

rampone press con

by TOM SLATER

For years, the lack of a sustained television coverage has been the bane of the National Womens Soccer League (NWSL).

Not anymore.

In what may be its biggest partnership in the history of the four-year-old league, NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush and Arts and Entertainment CEO and President Nancy Dubuc announced a three-year partnership that will feature a game of the week package for the entire season. All games will be broadcast on A + E’s Lifetime channel, which reaches about 96 million homes. Games will be shown live at 4 p.m. ET each Saturday, preceded by a 3:30 p.m. pre-game show.

The partnership will be known as NWSL Media and will act as the media and commercial arm of the league, overseeing all of its global broadcast and sponsorship rights. But it is more than just a television package. In addition, NWSL Media will manage all digital assets for the NWSL including a re-designed NWSLSoccer.com, a new NWSL app on iOS and Android, and the league’s social media platforms.

“This is a transformational partnership in the evolution of the league, and we are so appreciative of Nancy Dubuc and her team at A+E Networks as they take a leadership position in the growth of our league and create opportunities for young women,” NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush said. “We are also extremely pleased to be able to present our fans with the most comprehensive national television and streaming packages in our history.”

Plush said that all other games will continue to be livestreamed but did not say whether YouTube will be the platform.

NWSL Media will oversee the live streaming of all matches and produce the games in high definition with a consistent, state-of-the-art approach that will include exclusive new and original digital content for pre-game, halftime and post-game segments. The joint venture is currently negotiating with potential partners to stream the games not broadcast on Lifetime.

“As a former college athlete, I know the importance of sports in the lives of women and girls and I couldn’t be more thrilled to join forces with NWSL and U.S. Soccer to ensure professional women athletes are elevated as the entire country can watch and be inspired by their strength and athleticism.   The teams are filled with some of the best professional players in the world, and we are proud to welcome them to Lifetime,” said Nancy Dubuc, President and CEO, A+E Networks.

“This partnership is not only tremendously significant in the continued growth of the NWSL, but representative of how far the league has come in four years and where it can go in the future,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “A+E and its resources are a fantastic fit for women’s professional soccer and will have a major impact on continuing to raise the profile of what we feel is already the best and most competitive league in the world.”

Sky Blue FC captain and former UNWNT captain Christie Rampone represented a handful of players from around the league and emphasized the importance of the partnership.

“This is absolutely exciting,” Rampone said.”Being in previous leagues, we know how important it is to have a connection and partnership like A+E joining with the family of the NWSL. We are about continuing the growth of the game. And what better way to do it than to have a game once a week where fans can connect and be part of it.”

Gulati acknowledged that Rampone is officially retired from the USWNT and will be honored in March, presumably at the SheBelieves Cup game at Red Bull Arena.