ESPN and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the preeminent professional women’s soccer league in the United States featuring more than 55 players competing in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, announced today an agreement to televise 14 league matches during the 2019 season. Eight matches will air on ESPNEWS, and the remaining six, including the two semifinals and the championship, will air on ESPN2.
The NWSL features many of the world’s top players such as Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), who scored the most goals by a single player in a Women's World Cup game on June 11; Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), who set a Women’s World Cup tournament record June 16 with a goal in her sixth consecutive game; Marta (Orlando Pride), the all-time leader of men and women soccer players with her record 17th World Cup goal; and Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC), who continues to dominate the sport with the most goals scored in Reign FC franchise history.
NWSL telecasts will begin Sunday, July 14, at 3 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS, with a matchup of the Portland Thorns vs. Orlando Pride, live from Portland’s Providence Park. Portland’s roster features U.S. Women’s National Team stars Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and Canadian captain Christine Sinclair, while Orlando’s stars include six-time FIFA Player of the Year and Brazil captain Marta and standout striker Alex Morgan. The NWSL Championship will air Sunday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m. on ESPN2, with tickets going on sale this month. All NWSL match telecasts on ESPN networks will stream live on the ESPN App.
“NWSL is a global leader in women’s professional soccer, with collectively the most talented players in the world. Together with the reach of ESPN’s vast network, we have the opportunity to bring more games to a broader audience across the country and world,” said NWSL President Amanda Duffy. “Even in the year leading up to the Women’s World Cup, we have continued to experience tremendous growth through the support, engagement, and visibility from our fans.”
Last year, more fans came to see NWSL games than any other regular season in the league’s history, with a total regular season attendance of more than 650,000, and the 2018 NWSL Championship broke the record for the largest all-time crowd of a women’s professional soccer championship with a sellout crowd of 21,144.
“We are pleased to once again televise the National Women’s Soccer League and showcase many of the world’s top female players when they return to their professional club teams,” said Burke Magnus, Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, ESPN. “The success and excitement of the World Cup in France has been on full display and the NWSL represents the best women’s club soccer in the world.”
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is the highest level of professional women’s soccer in the United States. Featuring players from around the world, the nine-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league includes Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Utah Royals FC and the Washington Spirit. Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association and the United States Soccer Federation.www.NWSLsoccer.com.
ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment enterprise features more than 50 assets – eight U.S. television networks, direct-to-consumer ESPN+, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN International, ESPN The Magazine and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by Hearst.