After going without a dedicated broadcast partner last year, the NWSL announced today that they have signed an agreement with CBS Sports to air games for the next three years. In addition, the league has partnered with Twitch to stream all games for international viewers, as well as 24 games for U.S. and Canadian viewers.
“The NWSL is elated to partner with CBS Sports and Twitch, two incredible media companies with a proven track record of award-winning coverage,” said newly appointed NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird in a league release. “This new media-rights agreement is a watershed moment for women’s soccer in the U.S. and around the world and is the first time NWSL matches will be available to such a wide audience. We are excited to work with CBS with its rich history, tradition and storied innovation to utilize the power of their multiple platforms to reach more fans. We also are eager to team up with Twitch to showcase the brightest stars in the sport. These partnerships will continue to amplify the NWSL and its teams on a national and international stage.”
The opening game of the 2020 season, featuring OL Reign at the Washington Spirit on Saturday, April 18, will be aired over-the-air on local CBS channels, as will the Championship game. Fourteen other NWSL matches will air on CBS Sports Network, including both playoff semifinal games, and 71 other games through the season will stream on CBS All Access. The remaining 24 games will stream for free on Twitch for U.S. and Canadian viewers. All 108 regular season games will be on Twitch for viewers in other countries.
Building on this new partnership, the NWSL and Twitch will collaborate on additional league and player-related content and original programming opportunities, and the league is also allowing co-streaming of select games on Twitch, enabling fans provide their own analysis and play-by-play on the game.
Replays of games that aired on CBS platforms will be available on-demand on CBS All Access, while replays of games that streamed on Twitch will be available on-demand on that platform. Replays of games from past seasons will remain available on-demand from the NWSL YouTube channel (2013-2016 seasons) or the NWSL website (2017-2019 seasons).
In all, one OL Reign regular-season game will air on CBS, three will air on CBS Sports Network (both games at Portland, and a home game versus Orlando on June 19), and six games will stream on Twitch – May 9 vs. North Carolina, May 23 vs. Washington, June 27 vs. Sky Blue, July 4 at North Carolina, Aug. 8 at Utah, and Aug. 29 when they host the Thorns at Cheney Stadium. The remaining 14 matches will be streamed on CBS All Access.