IMG Arena, the betting arm of the international sports and entertainment giant, has secured an exclusive worldwide data and streaming rights deal with North America’s top-tier National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

The deal covers the 12-team NWSL and its season-opening Challenge Cup tournament.

It will see IMG Arena capture and deliver data from more than 161 games per season for its network of more than 460 sportsbook operators and also distribute live streaming for betting.

As part of the deal, IMG Arena also becomes the league’s official integrity partner and will provide it with full monitoring services to safeguard competitions and tournaments.

NWSL chief revenue officer Mitch Poll said: “As the NWSL continues to grow on and off the field, delivering new opportunities to further engage with our teams and players is critical to unlocking our potential as an entertainment business.

“This new partnership is a key step in increasing the value add of our league and we are excited to work alongside IMG Arena as we continue enhancing the fan experience for NWSL fans and sports enthusiasts alike.”

The deal builds on IMG’s existing relationship with the league. Along with parent company Endeavor, IMG distributes the NWSL’s global media rights, while Endeavor Streaming powers the NWSL’s international direct-to-consumer streaming service.

The deal also adds to IMG Arena’s growing client portfolio of top-tier leagues, which includes Major League Soccer, the US Tennis Association, mix-martial arts promotion UFC, golf’s PGA Tour, and multiple European soccer leagues through its partnership with European Leagues, the organization that represents the continent’s top domestic leagues.

Andrew Turner, IMG Arena’s commercial partnerships manager – Americas, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the world’s premier women’s soccer league to help grow the NWSL’s global reach and engage fans with a front-row seat to every moment of the action.

“With last season’s record-breaking attendance, new Utah and Bay Arena franchises set to join in 2024, and new-format Challenge Cup, the NWSL is one of the most exciting properties in global sports and a fantastic addition to our expanding US soccer portfolio.”

The 2023 NWSL season kicked off on March 25 and will end on November 11. It is the first time the multi-stage Challenge Cup will run concurrently with the regular season from April 19 to September 9.

The league set a new opening weekend attendance record earlier this year. Across six games, the league averaged 15,002 fans on Saturday (March 25) and Sunday (March 26), surpassing the previous mark set last year of 10,150, an increase of nearly 50%.

Last May, the NWSL announced the prize fund for the Challenge Cup would increase tenfold for the 2022 edition before nearly doubling again this year to become “the first-ever women’s professional soccer tournament to achieve pay equity with its US peers in the men’s game.”

 The Challenge Cup was launched in 2020 as a means for players to compete amid the pandemic in 2020 when NWSL matches were canceled.

Image: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images for Angel City FC