NWSL Expands with Record-Breaking Broadcast Deal
|NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman speaks during a press conference at Venue 808 on November 09, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Image-Getty)
The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is embarking on the expansion journey to include a 16th team, announced Commissioner Jessica Berman on Friday. This development comes in conjunction with a groundbreaking broadcast deal, signaling the league's commitment to growth.
Having already disclosed the addition of the 13th and 14th clubs, Bay FC from San Jose and the Utah Royals, the NWSL is anticipating the inclusion of a Boston-based team by 2026. In 2022, the league welcomed Angel City FC from Los Angeles and San Diego Wave FC.
Commissioner Berman highlighted the significant interest from over a dozen qualified investor groups across the United States, expressing enthusiasm for the necessary investments to ensure the success of new teams.
This announcement follows the NWSL's recent media deal with ESPN, CBS, Prime Sports, and Scripps' ION network, valued at a reported record of $60 million annually over four years. This multi-broadcast agreement is recognized as the "largest media investment in women's sports history."
Emphasizing the league's commitment to seizing the current moment, Berman acknowledged the unprecedented opportunity to expand and fortify the NWSL's foundation for the future. She reported a 41% year-over-year increase in viewership on the CBS network and an 83% rise in streaming on Paramount+ during the current season.
As the NWSL season concludes with the championship match between OL Reign from Seattle and NJ/NY Gotham FC at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, Berman urged a proactive investment approach for continued growth and success.