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NWSL and A+E Network announces partnership

Lifetime will broadcast weekly game

Erika Tymrak
Thad Bell

The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and A+E Networks have announced they have entered into a partnership. A+E Networks has become the leagues newest investor, joining the team ownership groups with an equity stake in the NWSL.

A+E Networks Lifetime channel will become an official sponsor and broadcast partner of the league. The three year deal begins in April and a joint venture will create NWSL Media.

"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 via the press release. "We are also extremely pleased to be able to present our fans with the most comprehensive national television and streaming packages in our history."

"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."

NWSL Media, the new joint venture, will be the media and commercial arm of the league, overseeing all of its global broadcast and sponsorship rights. 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.

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.

Key points:

  • A Saturday afternoon game every week on Lifetime at 3 P.M. Central and a pre-game show at 2:30
  • Investment from A+E in addition to U.S. Soccer’s investment, not replacing it
  • The additional investment assisting salaries and salary caps to grow
  • NWSL Media which will provide consistent broadcasting and livestreaming
  • NWSL Media will create a mobile app
  • Live broadcasts will not be Geo-blocked, allowing viewers around the world to follow the league