Coming off a record-breaking 2023 season, the NWSL on Thursday announced the competition framework for 2024. With 14 teams competing next year, the NWSL will feature a balanced regular season – with each team playing each other twice, home and away, across 26 league matches.
“Women’s soccer shined on an international scale in 2023 and as attendance, viewership and investment figures continue to explode, our league has never been better positioned to capitalize on the momentum the game is experiencing,” said NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman. “The 2024 campaign represents a new era for the NWSL as we continue our efforts to deliver the best product in professional soccer.”
Here are all the details the league has announced.
Preseason starts in late January
Clubs may hold preseason camps beginning as early as January 22 but no starting later than January 29. That means the Reign have just over a month to sign new players and free agents and have them ready to report when the preseason rolls around.
A revised Challenge Cup
The NWSL Challenge Cup will look a lot different in 2024. It's been reformatted as a single match between the reigning NWSL Champion and NWSL Shield winner. That means NJ/NY Gotham FC and the San Diego Wave will face off on Friday, March 15. The match will stream live on Prime Video.
In future years, if the Shield winner also wins the NWSL Championship, the Challenge Cup will be a rematch of the previous season’s Championship match.
Regular season begins on March 16
The NWSL regular season will kick off on Saturday, March 16. A full schedule and broadcast details will come in 2024.
(It should be noted that the Concacaf W Gold Cup will run from February 17 – March 10, 2024. That will pull several players away from their NWSL clubs just before the regular season kicks off.)
No matches during FIFA windows
NWSL matches will not be played during FIFA windows. In addition to the CBA-mandated league break from July 8 to 14, the NWSL will break from league play from July 15 to August 18 while the Paris 2024 Olympics are staged.
International tournament during the Olympics
During that Olympic break, the NWSL will organize a tournament featuring international teams and all 14 NWSL clubs, beginning the weekend of July 19-21. The league will share more details on the competition's format at a later date.
More teams in the playoffs
Eight of the 14 clubs will qualify for the 2024 NWSL Playoffs, which will now consist of four quarterfinal matches – eliminating byes to the semifinals. The quarterfinal round will take place the weekend of November 9-10, the semifinal round is set for the weekend of November 16-17, and the NWSL Championship will be held on November 23.
New TV deal launches
The 2024 campaign marks the beginning of the league’s four-year domestic media rights agreement that will see 118 matches featured on national platforms throughout the season.
- Friday night regular-season matches will air on Prime Video.
- Saturday will include a double-header on ION network, available over the air in 123 million homes (and for free on several streaming apps)
- A package of regular season matches will air on CBS 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 of these matches will also stream live on ESPN+ in English and Spanish.
- For the third-straight season, the NWSL Championship will air in primetime on CBS and stream on Paramount+.
OL Reign will also have an updated name and new ownership in 2024. The sale of the club should be completed by the end of the year – concluding a process that began at the start of the season in April.