ESPN to broadcast 9 NWSL games this season

Alex Morgan

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By MITCHELL NORTHAM

ESPN and the National Women’s Soccer League announced a one-year agreement today that will have ESPN broadcast nine NWSL games this season.

ESPN 2 will air three regular season games, both semifinal matches, and the NWSL championship, while three other regular season games will be aired on the network’s online streaming service, ESPN3.

“We are very excited to announce our new agreement with ESPN,” NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey said in a statement. “In the midst of our second season, we are striving to provide our fans with improved access to our league matches and airing our games on ESPN2 and ESPN3 will give us a broader platform to expose fans to the amazing caliber of women’s soccer in the NWSL. We also hope to create new fans who will appreciate the amazing athletes and personalities in our league.”

Of the regular season matches airing, three will be hosted by Portland Thorns FC, two by the Houston Dash and one by the Western New York Flash. Teams that will not have their games on air unless they make the playoffs are the Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City and the Washington Spirit.

Julie Foudy, the former captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team, will also be involved in the broadcasts and will conduct post-game interviews with players.

“This agreement with the NWSL represents ESPN’s continued commitment to soccer and to top level women’s sports,” ESPN senior VP of programming Scott Guglielmino said in a statement. “We are excited to showcase this new league and feature some of the best female soccer players in the world leading in to the 2015 FIFA World Cup.”

Here’s what ESPN’s NWSL schedule looks like:

Sunday, July 20 – Portland Thorns FC vs Boston Breakers – 5:00 p.m. ESPN2
Wednesday, July 30 – Houston Dash vs Seattle Reign FC – 9:00 p.m. ESPN3
Sunday, August 3 – Portland Thorns vs FC Houston Dash – 10:00 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday, August 9 – Houston Dash vs Sky Blue FC – 9:00 p.m. ESPN3
Wednesday, August 13 – Western New York Flash vs Sky Blue FC – 7:00 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, August 17 – Portland Thorns FC vs Seattle Reign FC – 5:00 p.m. ESPN3
Saturday, August 23 – Semifinal – 1:00 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, August 24 – Semifinal – 3/11 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, August 31 – Championship – 3:00 p.m. ESPN2

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What do you think of this news? Excited to see NWSL on national TV this year?

Share your thoughts below.

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8 Responses to ESPN to broadcast 9 NWSL games this season

  1. jspech says:

    really nice move by all involved. #growthegame

  2. NASL TO EL PASO TX 915 says:

    Doesn’t espn3 broadcast NASL game of the week sometimes?
    If MLS would have an MLS network, they can easily broadcast uslpro, MLS and even nwsl games.
    However everybody knows NASL are delusional and won’t work with MLS, but what if espn makes a channel call espn-soccer and broadcast MLS, NASL, uslpro,nwsl, and some other world leagues.
    Something has to happen, but MLS just loves to expand?
    Make a damn mls2, create an MLS network, stop expansion at 26 or 28, kill NASL 2 by making an MLS 2.

    • Good Jeremy says:

      Great idea. All we’re missing now is the $25,000,000,000 to make it work.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Actually I’ve thought that it’s absurd to me that some of the leagues in this region have not discussed the idea of a “CONCACAF Network”. None of the English-language networks have provided a well thought-out platform. It’s dogs and cats, and everybody is failing badly. It might also salvage the CONCACAF Champions League.

      MLS trailing WNBA is a failure of the TV strategy. Period.

      Supplement the time-zone concentration by buying the rights to Dutch, German, mid-tier European league programming (nobody who holds these values them very hghly), and you have a nice package. Paritcularly if you target leagues that have CONCACAF players abroad.

      I would put my own money into this idea. My own capital can’t quite handle that though…. Somebody?

      • Jay says:

        Is really not the WNBA vs MLS is more basketball vs soccer. Basketball is still a million times more popular so even the women’s version has a leg up.

        • Ali Dia says:

          I have yet to meet a single male who watches WNBA other than for with his daughters. Very low cross-over fanbase from men’s to women’s. WNBA should not be getting this much benefit.

          Look at attendance and MLS should really be doing better than WNBA. Just not a good TV platform at all. WNBA is much better here. They NBA does an excellent job bundling the two products. By contrast, NBC did a very inconsistent and poor job of bridging EPL to MLS this year. There is no reason I should be watching a 60 min show about stocking your sportfishing property in between two soccer games. Ridiculous.

  3. JD says:

    Get Julie Foudy on commentary and Kristine Lilly as a sideline reporter and make Hope Solo’s head explode!

  4. EspinDOHla says:

    Nice to see the ladies getting some love from ESPN.