ESPN have announced that they've secured exclusive rights to broadcast the National Women’s Soccer League worldwide, expanding on their separate agreement in North America.
The NWSL is home to some of the biggest names in women's football from across the world, with World Cup stars like Australia's Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Canada captain Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Brazil's record-breaker Marta (Orlando Pride) and USWNT talisman Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC).
"This is an important step for NWSL to strengthen the league’s reach through ESPN’s international network," NWSL president Amanda Duffy said, quoted by nwslsoccer.com.
"Our partnership with ESPN has already brought NWSL’s world-class competition into more homes and to more fans here in the United States.
"Expanding the network’s distribution internationally will continue to elevate the profile and visibility of NWSL around the world."
ESPN's deal will see them hold the worldwide rights for the league’s regular season and playoff matches, with games being broadcast from August 17.
"The National Women’s Soccer League is home to many of the world’s top female players, and as a brand, ESPN leads the way in delivering world-class soccer content to fans around the world," said Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president, programming and acquisitions, at ESPN.
Interesting development: ESPN and the National Women's Soccer League have reached an exclusive agreement for worldwide rights (excluding U.S.) to the league's regular season and playoff matches.— Rachel Bachman (@Bachscore) August 16, 2019
ESPN already holds the rights to NWSL broadcasts in the U.S.
"We are thrilled to be able to leverage ESPN’s global reach to bring NWSL’s regular season and playoff matches to soccer audiences worldwide."
The Women's World Cup in France over the summer has seen interest in the game reach an all-time high, with viewing figures for the BBC reaching an audience of 28.1 million people.