The National Women’s Soccer League and consulting partner Octagon will be seeking a minimum three-year commitment from English- and Spanish-language broadcast partners in the United States to ensure the league’s long-term growth.
The two parties are meeting potential media rights partners in New York this week and will ask for a deal which spans 2020-22.
Notably, there is not a Fifa Women’s World Cup in this time period, with the next showpiece event in 2023. Fox and ESPN partnered with the NWSL after the 2015 and 2019 Women’s World Cup respectively, in short-term deals which looked to capitalize in the spike in attention in women’s soccer.
But the NWSL and Octagon, whose media rights consulting division is representing the NWSL in the sales process for the first time, want a deeper and more meaningful commitment for the next rights deal.
“The construct historically of rallying behind the league to ride the wave of USWNT success and then abandoning the league is no longer going to be acceptable,” Daniel Cohen, senior vice president for Octagon, told Morning Consult.
According to the report, the NWSL is prioritizing reach and will look to put a significant number of games on an over-the-air broadcast network or a well-distributed cable channel, as well as on a streaming service. Internationally, the NWSL has been approached by media companies in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, France, Japan and Australia, as well as several global agencies.
The NWSL is preparing for a transition in the off-season, with US Soccer expected to step away from its management role in the coming months. In preparation of this, the NWSL appointed Octagon as a consultant to advise the league on its media- and marketing-rights strategy globally for the next three seasons.