NWSL announced a new TV arrangement for the rest of this season. Six NWSL matches will now be shown on ESPN News, displacing some of Lifetime’s Game of the Week broadcasts. These six match’s pregame shows will be shown on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition, Lifetime will show one Friday match as their Game of the Week.
This is fantastic news for the league and for fans! Like some small country getting their first McDonald’s, having your league on ESPN means you’ve arrived. ESPN News is a mainstream sports network which substantially increases the potential audience. ESPN News is available on nearly all TV platforms making it easier to watch. The ESPN News summer matches will be played at a more comfortable evening time slot which should be a relief to the players and fans in the stands.
The deal brings schedule changes, starting with the Thorns’ next match at Chicago coming up soon. Changes for the Portland Thorns (all times Pacific):
- June 16, Portland at Chicago. Now at 5:00 pm on ESPN News. Our next match.
- August 18, Chicago at Portland. Now at 7:30 pm (ESPN News). The Timbers play at SKC at 5:30 pm, so you will need to plan carefully to do both.
- August 25, Portland at Washington. Now at 4:30 pm on ESPN News. This is the inaugural match at the brand-new Audi Field.
- September 7, Seattle at Portland. Now at 7:00 pm (Lifetime). This is the home closer for the Thorns.
- Both semi-finals, and the final, will be shown on Lifetime as previously scheduled.
The NWSL matches are not yet available on the ESPN+ app. However, ESPN News is very widely distributed; in Portland you can watch it here:
- Comcast 1210 HD / 402 SD
- FIOS 572 HD / 72 SD
- Dish Network 142
- DirecTV 207
- PlayStation Vue
- DirecTV Now “Just Right” package
- WatchESPN app, if you have a cable TV account (e.g. Comcast). NWSL press release says this will be available.
I’ll be keeping a close eye on the ratings – they’re almost sure to increase significantly.
Onward Rose City!