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NWSL and ESPN reach broadcast deal for 2019 season

Four Thorns games will feature on national television in the new deal with ESPN

Kris Lattimore

This morning, the NWSL and ESPN announced that 14 games — including both semifinals and the championship match — will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPNEWS. The new partnership highlights the growth of the women’s game in this World Cup year; a number of countries have set records in viewership during the tournament, and the league will hope to capitalize off the increased visibility of women’s soccer with a national television deal.

The agreement between the league and ESPN marks the first broadcast deal since the NWSL and A&E Networks terminated their contract in February of this year — a season ahead of when it was set to expire — and ended the televised game of the week on Lifetime.

The Thorns will be one of the first clubs featured in the new partnership; they host the Orlando Pride on July 14 (12:00 PT) to kick off the series of nationally televised games. Matches against the North Carolina Courage on August 11 (12:00 PT) and the Chicago Red Stars on August 25 (12:00 PT) will also be included in the new deal, with all three aired on ESPNEWS. Additionally, Reign FC will play host to Portland on September 29, a game that will feature on ESPN2 with a new kickoff time of 11:00 PT.