CBS, an arm of the US national TV network, has secured exclusive rights to English soccer’s Women’s Super League for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.
The broadcaster will air 57 WSL matches during each of the next two campaigns (in English).
The majority of matches from the 12-team league will be covered live by Paramount+, CBS’ over-the-top streaming service, although CBS Sports Network will also air a “select number” of games on linear TV.
Distribution rights to the WSL in the US for this season are held by Ata Football, a women’s soccer-focused digital platform owned by Atalanta Media, although the CBS deal has been negotiated directly with English soccer’s Football Association.
Currently, the WSL is covered by rival national network NBC Sports, through a one-year deal with Ata, signed in September, which solely covers the ongoing 2021-22 campaign.
Ata also covers some games itself, alongside other prominent women’s leagues across Europe such as the Spanish Liga Ibrerdola, ad France’s D1 Arkema.
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Of the 57 WSL matches which are being shown this season – the first time WSL action has been covered in the US – two will be on the main NBC network, with another eight on NBC Sports Networks and 10 on CNBC.
The others will be streamed, both live and on-demand, across the NBC Sports mobile app and on the broadcaster’s digital site.
Certain matches are meanwhile being simulcast on the atafootball.com site.
Dan Weinberg, executive vice-president of president and programming at CBS Sports, has said: “The Women’s Super League features some of the most recognisable soccer brands in the world, and is an excellent addition to CBS Sports’ premium soccer portfolio. With our wide array of soccer properties and robust year-round match coverage, we are a must-have for soccer fans.”
James Ridley, head of broadcast and media rights at the FA, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with CBS Sports for the next two seasons and are looking forward to the coverage they beam to households across the US. Their delivery of soccer, whether men’s or women’s, is of the highest quality, and their reputation within the industry is one that is growing rapidly.”
CBS Sports will add the WSL to a range of top-tier women’s soccer properties that already includes the National Women’s Soccer League from the US, European qualifying matches for the Fifa Women’s World Cup, various Concacaf women’s soccer competitions, and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
The WSL currently features a number of well-known US players, including national team star Tobin Heath at Manchester United, while Alex Morgan, arguably the most well-known US player of the last few years, had a short stint with Tottenham last season.
Ata Football is supported by 777 Partners, a Miami-based US investment firm that was founded in 2015 and has since grown into a global holding company of more than 50 businesses over five continents.
Atalanta Media looks to buy up rights to women’s leagues and distribute them to high-profile broadcasters for free to accelerate the visibility of women’s soccer.