NWSL and FOX Sports announced a six-match schedule to be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) beginning in September. NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush tipped the arrangement during a Wednesday conference call and Jonathan Tannenwald of philly.com broke the schedule earlier Thursday.
“We are very pleased to once again partner with FOX Sports, who continue to demonstrate their outstanding support of our league and women’s soccer,” Plush said. “It is extremely important for the development of the league for our fans to have access to games on national television, especially our playoffs and championship match.”
FS1 will broadcast the NWSL semifinals and NWSL Championship though there were no dates announced for those matches. The three-game regular season package begins September 7 with FC Kansas City vising Chicago. Four days later the Thorns host the Flash in Portland. The regular season schedule concludes September 25 with the Dash hosting the Reign in Houston.
“We are thrilled to embark on our second year of NWSL coverage, following an incredible FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015,” said David Nathanson, FOX Sports’ Head of Business Operations. “This partnership showcases our continuing support of women’s soccer and the sport’s top players.”
FOX Sports also aired NWSL matches in 2013. ESPN carried games in 2014.
The current agreement is small in stature and is nearly five months away from being a reality. That said, Plush made it clear on Wednesday that there are ongoing discussions with other providers and that the FOX deal is not exclusive.
The most important part of the deal though, as reported by Tannenwald, is that FOX is covering the production costs for airing the matches.
At the present time, all other NWSL matches are set to be streamed free of charge via YouTube.
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