National Women’s Soccer League Press Release
(Feb. 3, 2017) – The National Women’s Soccer League welcomed A+E Networks as the league’s newest partner Thursday in move that signals a strong foundation of long-term investment and growth for the NWSL.
A+E Networks will take an equity stake in the league and has signed onto a three-year deal to broadcast the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime. Together the broadcaster and the league will launch NWSL Media to manage all of the league’s digital assets – including its social media platforms, a redesigned NWSLsoccer.com plus a new NWSL app on iOS and Android.
“We are on a journey to establish a sustainable, permanent women’s soccer league in the United States and Canada,” NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush said at the press conference held at A+E headquarters in New York. “It’s a transformational day for our league.”
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati attended the press conference along with A+E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc as well as Sky Blue FC defender Christie Rampone and several other of the league’s stars – including 2016 NWSL MVP Lynn Williams.
“Today is not only great news for the NWSL and great news for A+E [Networks], but really for the women’s sports movement generally,” Gulati said. “Around the world, interest in the women’s game in Europe – and especially in the United States – is at an all-time high.”
The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will feature pre-game show every Saturday during the season at 3:30 p.m. ET ahead of a 4 p.m. ET kickoff as fans from across the country and around the globe will get to tune in and watch some of their favorite women’s soccer stars. All other matches will continue to be available via a live stream.
“This is really an incredible moment for Lifetime and A+E Networks, and me personally,” Dubuc said. “Not only is soccer an incredible sport, a dramatic sport, an incredible story, a growing business – but I also think in the narrative of empowering women, being a female athlete is incredible important to being a successful woman.”
From the perspective of someone who has participated in both the NWSL and two previous women’s soccer leagues in the U.S., Rampone hailed the announcement as an important step forward for the league.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” the former U.S. international and current Sky Blue FC defender said. “Knowing how important it is to have a partnership like A+E [Networks] joining with the family of the NWSL, it’s so exciting for the players because we’re about continuing the growth of the game. What better way to do it than have a game once a week where the fans can connect and be part of this.”
The two-time World Cup winner and three-time Olympic gold medalist also said the deal shows that A+E Networks is committed to helping the league continue its growth as it embarks on an unprecedented fifth season.
“It just shows that they believe in us,” Rampone said. “And as players we have to continue to do what we have to do on the field to make the product really [good] so that it is entertaining for the fans to watch and stay connected.”