It might seem like a small deal, a new television agreement, but the agreement the NWSL announced with A+E on Thursday is one of the most important commercial deals reached in the history of women's
soccer. Not only will NWSL games air weekly on Lifetime, but the NWSL and A+E have teamed up on the creation of a commercial venture, NWSL Media, and A+E will have an equity stake in the fifth-year
Key components of the agreement:
-- An NWSL game will air during each week during the regular season -- NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime on Saturday afternoons
-- plus semifinals and final; -- NWSL Media will act as the media and commercial arm of the league, overseeing all of its global broadcast and sponsorship rights; -- NWSL Media will
re-design NWSLSoccer.com and oversee the league's social media platforms; -- NWSL Media will create an NWSL app on iOS and Android; -- A+E will have an
equity stake in the league gain two members on the league board.
"We are on a journey to establish a sustainable, permanent women's soccer league in the United States and Canada," NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush said at a media event held in New York on
Thursday. "Our journey is all about partnership. It takes great partners to accomplish what we are trying to accomplish. Today we get to bring on a new partner. It is a transformational day for our
Last year, the NWSL broadcast just three regular-season games, beginning Aug. 30, in addition to the three playoff games. The six games on FS1 averaged 100,000 viewers. In 2015, the agreement -- also six games, also in FS1 -- wasn't
announced until June 30.
Until now, the NWSL has not had great success selling marketing packages as the league has operated in the shadows and often taken second fiddle to the women's
NWSL Media will operate with a window to promote the women's league. The next major women's event -- the Women's World Cup -- won't take place until 2019.