The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that it had reached an agreement with ESPN to televise 14 games for the remainder of the 2019 season. The deal includes post-season coverage. Eight matches will air on ESPNEWS with the rest, including the two semifinals and the championship game, on ESPN2.
Utah Royals FC will be featured on Saturday, July 27th on ESPNEWS vs. North Carolina Courage at Rio Tinto Stadium. The game is scheduled for 8 PM MT. It is the only game during the regular season for Royals FC on the ESPN broadcast schedule.
ESPN signs media rights agreement with @NWSL for second half of 2019 season— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) July 4, 2019
⚽️ 14 #NWSL matches to air on ESPN2 & ESPNEWS - including both semifinals & the championship
Cool, huh? It’s an important step for the league since A+E Networks ended their agreement a year early before the start of the 2019 season, and NWSL games had been streaming games on Yahoo Sports. Games not on ESPN will continue to be streamed on Yahoo Sports, with Utah games also available on the KSL app. ESPN has previously televised NWSL games during the 2014 NWSL season and last season on ESPNEWS after games were moved from Lifetime.
Do note that this is just for the remainder of the 2019 season. Broadcast plans for 2020 and beyond are still in the works. Per John D. Halloran of The Equalizer, the NWSL has been “looking forward to the next long-term media deal, which is being negotiated separate from this 2019 package.”
And so until then, we wait. Obviously, games on ESPNEWS are not ideal. It’s not the main ESPN channel nor ESPN2, but at least, it’s something for the NWSL as it moves forth, and with the exposure and success of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, specifically the U.S. National Team, this can hopefully lead to something bigger and better.