Friday, April 19, 2013

Women’s soccer league scores big with FOX Soccer, NBC picks up EPL


Thursday it was announced that the National Women’s Soccer League and FOX Sports Media Group have signed a one-year television agreement. As part of the negotiation, FOX Soccer will broadcast a total of nine NWSL matches. This will include six regular season matches and all three playoff matches. The NWSL semifinals are to take place on August 24th and 25th with the championship match slated for August 31st. The NWSL season will be a length of 22 games.


FOX Soccer is the largest soccer provider in the United States. FOX Soccer is the current home of the Barclays Premier League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup, as well as select CONCACAF matches. In addition, FOX Soccer has secured rights to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which in itself is a major step forward for women’s soccer.

Executive Director of the NWSL, Cheryl Bailey, is very pleased to have reached an agreement with FOX Sports Media Group. “The opportunity to highlight the race for the playoffs and the three biggest games of season that will decide the first league champion on national television is important for the growth of the league”. As former General Manager of the U.S. Women’s National Team and current commissioner of the NWSL, Bailey will serve as a leading figure in the development and sustainability of women’s soccer.

She had this to say regarding her position:
“I am dedicated to ensuring that this league is set up with the best possible business model that emphasizes sustainability above all else while giving players a competitive environment in which to lay and creating something special for young girls to aspire to do”.

For all you women’s soccer fans, you’ll have to wait to till July 8th to catch your first glimpse of the NWSL. Starting then, FOX Soccer will air one game per week for the remainder of the season, leading up to playoffs. As for the exact games to be televised, look out for the schedule to be released in the weeks to come.

This is an assertive move by FOX Soccer to publicly support the growth of women’s soccer, specifically in North America. The unveiling of this partnership has come at time when women’s soccer is at its highest. With exponential success by the current USWNT, a TV deal with FOX Soccer will hopefully further catapult the popularity of women’s soccer.

David Nathanson, General Manager of FOX Soccer stated “the agreement with the NWSL showcases our support of women’s soccer and the growing popularity it’s experiencing in the country.” With the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup also to air on FOX Soccer, the NWSL will foreshadow many of the sport’s top athletes.
If the NWSL sees success in the years to come, the league could act as a competitive farm system for selecting future national team rosters.

The National Women’s Soccer League features teams in Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Portland, Seattle, Piscataway, Washington, and Rochester. Expect the NWSL to expand to twelve teams including the addition of several Canadian teams.
In other soccer news, NBC Sports has secured the rights to the English Premier League, including pre and post game studio coverage as well as streaming on desktop, mobile and tablets. NBC Universal will be shelling out a total of $250 million over the three years of this contract, an annual amount more than triple the $23 million per year paid by FOX under its current contract.

As far as the breakdown of the agreement, 154 games will be featured on NBC Sports Network, 22 games on other NBC Universal channels, and 20 games on NBC. In addition, 184 games will be aired on Premier League Extra Time, available at no extra cost for customers of NBC Sports Network.  NBC plans to air 30 hours of original Premier League programming weekly on top of the 600 hours of weekly studio programming on the NBC Sports Network.

Premier League CEO, Richard Scudamore weighed in on the significance of the league partnership with NBC Universal. “Fundamentally, this is a market of huge interest to our owners. The plans these guys have are a big step for us.”

Coverage of the Premier League will switch to NBC starting on August 17th.

---

Matt Puzio is a sophomore in Drexel’s Sport Management program. From West Windsor, NJ, Matt is an active member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Matt has assisted Drexel professor, Dr. Ellen Staurowsky, in her Title IX research which resulted in a publication and a chance to speak at the 2013 NCAA Scholarly Colloquium. Matt will soon complete his first Co-op with Trenton Thunder.  Follow Matt on Twitter @mattypuz.


Connect with Matt Puzio on LinkedIn

2 comments:

  1. Nice post! The WPS, predecessor to the NWSL, also had a Fox Soccer agreement but it was for weekly broadcast of games. It will be interesting to see how much traction the league gets as it will need to find a new partner next season with Fox Soccer closing shop all together late this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice post! The WPS, predecessor to the NWSL, also had a Fox Soccer agreement but it was for weekly broadcast of games. It will be interesting to see how much traction the league gets as it will need to find a new partner next season with Fox Soccer closing shop all together late this summer.

    ReplyDelete