NWSL reaches nine-match deal with FOX Soccer

The Equalizer Staff April 18, 2013 22

The first national television deal in NWSL history was announced on Thursday, with the new league set to partner with FOX Soccer to broadcast nine matches starting July 8.

The announced package features six regular season matches, both playoff semifinal finals, as well as the league’s August 31 championship.

“Our fans will get the chance to see the high caliber of women’s soccer,” NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey said in announcing the deal. “[W]e also hope to create many new fans who will appreciate the amazing athletes and personalities in the league.”

During their opening weekend, NWSL matches were streamed through team websites and the league’s YouTube channel, but unlike the U.S.’s two previous attempts to embed a women’s professional league, the NSWL didn’t begin with a national television deal in place. The Women’s United Soccer Association had games featured on ESPN2, TNT, and the now defunct PAX TV. Women’s Professional Soccer featured a weekly match on FOX Soccer.

Now FOX Soccer, a channel that will be replaced by FXX this summer, is back in the women’s soccer game. With FXX, intended to be a complement to FX, set to target young audiences with a variety of original programming, movies, and other acquired rights, FOX Soccer’s remaining competition rights are expected to be eventually used by FOX Sports 1, an all-sports competitor to ESPN that’s due to launch in August. FXX is expected to replace FOX Soccer in September.

Once that transfer takes place, NWSL rights will be included in a FOX Sports portfolio that includes UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and the rights to FIFA competitions from 2015 to 2022, including the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

“The agreement with the NWSL showcases our support of women’s soccer and the growing popularity it’s experiencing in the country,” according to FOX Soccer General Manager David Nathanson. “We are excited to be the network home for the sport’s top level players …”

For Bailey, getting the league’s biggest games televised is a vital part of the new agreement.

“The opportunity to highlight the race for the playoffs and the three biggest games of the season that will decide the first league champion on national television is important for the growth of the league.”

Seattle Reign FC owner Bill Predmore noted the big picture importance of national broadcast deals.

“A national TV contract is an important and necessary step towards our long-term goal of a financially sustainable league,” Predmore said in Reign FC’s statement announcing the deal.

Specific games to be broadcast were not announced.

  • Steglitz49

    Well done. Congratulations.

  • sol1711

    champions league, wolfsburg-arsenal ladies 21.04 12.00 live german time
    http://www.ndr.de no geoblocket

    • Steglitz49

      Do you think that the She-wolves will win? And, if yes, will they best Lyon and lift the cup in London? Are you going to London?

      What do you know of the rumor that Lotta Schelin may be leaving Lyon?

      • sol1711

        champions league winner 2013 – vfl wolfsburg

        no, i do not go to the island monkeys

        • Steglitz49

          I thought the monkeys were on Gibraltar and they are really apes, while in London it is all about the ravens. Anyway, pride goes before a fall, and all that. Remember Bern 1954.

          Do you know if the final is sold out?

          • sol1711

            england – island monkeys

            no, the final are not sold out.
            arsenal – wolfsburg 1450 spectators

          • Steglitz49

            “England is an island of shop keepers” said Napoleon. “The English, being subject to fogs, have need of grave statesmen” said Disraeli. Churchill said so much that you can take your pick.

            Mark Twain said something along the lines, that everyone in England talks about the weather but no-one does anything about it. He also pointed out, that the English language is a public company in which the Americans hold the majority of the shares.

            But the monkeys are in Gibraltar and had better stay there.

          • sol1711

            we germans say to the englishman and englishwomen, island monkeys
            hört sich komisch an, ist aber so.
            scheiss inselaffen

          • Steglitz49

            let’s see if Arsenal can turn it around in Wolfsburg. I doubt it, but stranger things have happened, like Japan winning the World Cup.

            btw to the English the cheese-eating surrender-monkeys are not the Germans.

  • luke

    great news!

  • Anton

    I thought Fox Sports 1 was launching in 2014?

  • Kernel Thai

    So the obvious question is will teams be able to stream games that will be on FoxSoccer? My guess is no.

    • Steglitz49

      I presume that you mean the games that are not being shown? Sol and The Commander can help us by explaining what happens in Germany and France for their D1 matches. I think they have an arrangement that the matches that are not broadcasted can be streamed.

      • sol1711

        dfb-tv, rbb, ndr and eurosport show bundesliga games, which are also shown on the internet.

        cl wolfsburg-arsenal 21.04 12.00 german time, live in the internet http://www.ndr.de no geoblocked

      • stephy_paola

        Yes. that is what i meant. Sorry, English is not my 1st language…

    • stephy_paola

      Tweet from @NWSLNews:

      “From what we’ve been hearing, the FoxSoccer agreement will not change the way teams handle the live streaming on their home matches”

      But i’m not sure if that means that they will also have internet stream for the game that will be on FoxSoccer or just the one that won’t be televised….

    • Steglitz49

      Why not simply go to the match?

  • Steglitz49

    Now the NWSL, the players and their agents must convince firms to buy advertising time. They have to sell their sport. Without fans and without sponsors there is no professional sport.

    It has been claimed that the reason that hockey was able to get back on the box is that it has very different audience from the 3 big American sports. Women’s soccer ought to be able to convince top firms and firms with highly placed women to buy time. (After all, a lady only needs so many quarts of body paint a year.)

    For example, it is alleged that women have a bigger influence on car purchases than is generally recognized. There is the whole cosmetics and fashion industry. Health and pharmaceuticals. Higher education. The list is endless.

  • I hope the broadcast quality will be much better than the few WPS games they aired on FOX SOCCER after the last WWC.

    Those matches looked like a local high school broadcast. It was pretty pathetic considering they would often switch to an MLS broadcast after the game and the difference in video quality and commentating was really disheartening.

    • Steglitz49

      If each extra camera has to be manned, I presume it increases the cost of the broadcasting considerably. The best — possibly the only — way to get a high quality broadcast is to ensure that the avdertising sells. And that people go to the matches, else there will be no spirit or atmosphere during the match, and yawning stands.

    • partyofficer

      For the Algarve Cup, the Fox commentators taped their color from a studio in LA. Whitehill (ESPN) did the color for the Germany & Netherlands games from the USA, too. My guess is that Fox will use whatever video feed they get from the home team and then provide audio from analysts in LA (who probably can’t pronounce the players’ names).

      • Steglitz49

        Such commentating is more common that people realize. Apart from certain key events, Swedish TV uses this system for the skiing events — alpine, X-country and biathlon — more often than not. Other broadcasters do too for many and various sports.

        Sol1711 can help them get it right for it seems that the German women’s teams do a good job. (In Sweden, one of the commercial channels covers one ladies’ match per weekend but the Cup final is on regular TV (I think).)