After weeks of anticipation, particularly after the rumor leaked that NWSL had a broadcast deal on the table, the league made it official today with a three-year rights agreement with CBS Sports and Twitch.
According to the league’s press release, CBS Sports will show 87 NWSL games for the 2020 season on CBS, CBS Sports Network, and CBS All Access, their streaming platform. NWSL’s season opener, Washington Spirit vs. OL Reign, will be on CBS’ main TV channel, as will the championship. 14 games total will be on CBS Sports Network, including the semifinal games, and 71 games will stream on All Access. According to Variety, CBS All Access and Showtime OTT (both owned by ViacomCBS) have a collective 10 million subscribers, with CBS exec Marc DeBevoise saying they’re aiming for 25 million by 2022. All Access costs $5.99/month for limited commercials, and has a commercial free option for $9.99/month.
Twitch will carry 24 games and will be the league’s international media rights partner, meaning viewers outside the US will be able to watch all 108 regular season games and the playoffs on Twitch. Signing up for Twitch is free.
The league statement says that Twitch will also bring “additional league and player-related content and original programming opportunities,” which may reflect something like what the National Women’s Hockey League has done, adding value for fans on the platform with enhanced commentary and player appearances.
Octagon negotiated for these media rights on behalf of the league.
Are you excited for this deal? How do you think NWSL should maximize Twitch as a platform?