NBC Sports adds FA Women’s Super League to soccer portfolio

NBC Sports has struck a deal to broadcast the FA Women’s Super League across its portfolio of networks for the 2020-21 season.

As part of a season-long partnership, which kicks off this weekend, NBC Sports will air 50 games across its platforms, including at least 12 matches on cable network NBCSN, with other games on the NBC Sports app and on NBCSports.com.

It is the first time that the WSL will be broadcast in the United States. Not all games aired on NBCSN will be live, however.

The move comes as many US women’s national team players have moved to Europe in recent weeks to gain meaningful playing time, including Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis, and Emily Sonnett.

The deal was facilitated by women’s soccer company Atalanta Media, which was founded by former professional player, collegiate coach, and sports marketer Esmeralda Negron, and former Sky media rights executive Hannah Brown, to accelerate access to the women’s soccer for fans, broadcasters, sponsors, and publishers.

In December, the Pitch International agency was appointed by the Football Association to exclusively distribute worldwide broadcast rights to the WSL.

As part of the deal with Atalanta Media, subscription streaming broadcaster DAZN has acquired rights to stream 44 matches this season in Germany and Italy.

“We’re excited to partner with Atalanta Media to present the first US telecast of the FA WSL,” said NBC Sports president of programming Jon Miller. “Our opening weekend features the game’s biggest international women’s stars, and the visibility we’ll provide over the course of the season will help advance the game.”

Negron added: “The quality of play and opportunity for women’s football globally has never been greater. Atalanta Media is here to provide the year-round exposure and commercialization necessary for women’s football to fulfill its potential.”

NBC Sports is also the longtime US broadcast partner of the Premier League.

Tom Gracey, broadcast and media rights lead at the FA, said today (Wednesday): “We are delighted to partner with Atalanta Media, NBC Sports and DAZN to showcase the Barclays FA Women’s Super League to viewers across America, Italy and Germany. I must also thank Pitch International for helping to agree this deal.

“The Barclays FA Women’s Super League continues to grow and with players from all over the world recognising it as a place they want to be, we want fans from those countries to be able to see them throughout the season.”

WSL fans in countries without a broadcast deal can watch the league on in-house OTT streaming platform The FA Player.