Also in today’s roundup, the Big Ten Conference releases 2017 television schedule.
Lifetime changes September 23 Game of the Week
The NWSL announced today that the September 23 match-up between the Orlando Pride and Portland Thorns had been picked up as that week’s Lifetime Game of the Week. The change will not affect kick-off time much, as the game was originally scheduled to coincide with the original nationally-televised game, Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars. However, kick off will be pushed back 20 minutes to 3:50 p.m. ET to allow for the pregame show.
Although no reason for the change was provided by Lifetime, the league or either team, heat is unlikely a factor. The originally slated Game of the Week was to be played at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston—a venue that has been heavily criticized for lack of shades and air movement in hot Texas temperatures—but the Pride are hosting Portland at Orlando City Stadium, where temperatures often rival that of Houston. Not only that, but temperatures will have begun to cool off some by late September.
Instead, the game’s playoff implications are most likely a factor. After last night’s midweek games, Orlando currently sits just outside of playoff contention, one point behind fourth-ranked Seattle. Portland, on the other hand, remain in second place despite falling 2-1 to FC Kansas City last night. The NWSL regular season ends on September 30, so the September 23 clash between the two teams may affect which teams continue into postseason play. Even if one or both teams have already clinched playoff berths by the 23rd, the game could be a preview of semifinal, or even final, action.
Regardless, it should be a highly entertaining match as Marta and Alex Morgan take on Christine Sinclair, Amandine Henry, and Allie Long. Lifetime is in the business of entertainment, and the star power of the Orlando-Portland match-up is no doubt appealing. The Lifetime Game of the Week has been averaging approximately 100,000 viewers a week, and the network may be hoping to set a season record, currently at 127,000 viewers, thanks to the draw of a multitude of USWNT players.
As a result of the Game of the Week change, Houston-Chicago’s start time has been pushed back to 8:30 p.m. ET and will be streamed live via both the go90 and NWSL sites and apps.
Big Ten Conference releases 2017 television schedule
The Big Ten Conference, home to some of the top women’s soccer programs in the country, including Wisconsin, Rutgers and 2015 NCAA champions Penn State, released its television schedule for the 2017 season.
In all, 20 Big Ten women’s soccer matches will be televised. The majority of those will be shown on the Big Ten Network (BTN), while two—a September 17 meeting between Ohio State and Northwestern and an October 8 meeting between Nebraska and Rutgers—will be aired on ESPNU. The games broadcast on BTN can be streamed online with a subscription, while the two airing on ESPNU can also be streamed via WatchESPN.
BTN’s coverage will also include the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament. They will air an October 29 quarterfinal match from a campus site, as well as both semifinal matches and the championship final. The tournament’s “final four” will be held at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana, with the semifinal round being played on November 3 and the final on November 5. The full Big Ten broadcast schedule is below.
The 2017 NCAA season officially gets underway tomorrow, Friday, August 18, and opening day includes two big-time matches. No. 1-ranked West Virginia, last year’s College Cup runners-up, open their 2017 campaign at No. 5 Georgetown at 4 p.m. ET, while in-state rivals Duke (#6) and North Carolina (#12) open their seasons off with one of the most heated contests of the year. That match is slated for a 6 p.m. ET kickoff and will televised on the ACC Network and streamed live on WatchESPN.
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