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.