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NWSL and ESPN Reach Agreement to Broadcast Nine Matches in 2014

courtesy nwslnews.com

courtesy nwslnews.com

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and ESPN announced on Wednesday a one-year agreement to broadcast nine NWSL games this year. As part of the agreement, ESPN2 will air three regular-season matches and all three NWSL playoff matches, which includes the two semifinal games on August 23rd  and 24th, and the championship game on August 31th.

“We are very excited to announce our new agreement with ESPN,” NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey said. “In the midst of our second season, we are striving to provide our fans with improved access to our league matches and airing our games on ESPN2 and ESPN3 will give us a broader platform to expose fans to the amazing caliber of women’s soccer in the NWSL. We also hope to create new fans who will appreciate the amazing athletes and personalities in our league.”

ESPN3 will stream three regular season games as part of the package. There are many ways to access live programming on ESPN3. It is available to more than 92 million households nationwide at no additional cost to fans with subscriptions to participating high speed internet or video service providers. The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

“This agreement with the NWSL represents ESPN’s continued commitment to soccer and to top level women’s sports,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN Senior Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions. “We are excited to showcase this new league and feature some of the best female soccer players in the world leading in to the 2015 FIFA World Cup.”

According to nwslsoccer.com Graham Hays will write a feature before every televised game for espnW.com, along with season predictions and breaking news throughout the season. In addition, espnW’s Julie Foudy, a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion in 1991 and 1999 and former captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team, will conduct a post-game question-and-answer with the star of each game.

Here is the 2014 NWSL National Televsion Schedule:

Date Home Team Away Team Time (ET) TV
Sunday, July 20, 2014 Portland Thorns FC Boston Breakers 5:00 p.m. ESPN2
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 Houston Dash Seattle Reign FC 9:00 p.m. ESPN3
Sunday, August 03, 2014 Portland Thorns FC Houston Dash 10:00 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday, August 09, 2014 Houston Dash Sky Blue FC 9:00 p.m. ESPN3
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 Western New York Flash Sky Blue FC 7:00 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, August 17, 2014 Portland Thorns FC Seattle Reign FC 5:00 p.m. ESPN3
Saturday, August 23, 2014 Semifinal 1:00 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, August 24, 2014 Semifinal 3:00 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, August 31, 2014 Championship 3:00 p.m. ESPN2

 

This is huge for the NWSL. Currently all matches can be streamed on YouTube but I believe this is much better. Last year, the NWSL had an agreement with the NWSL to show six games of Fox Sports. Most of the matches were shown on Fox Sports 2 which not many people had access to that network. Having it on ESPN is a step in the right directon for the NWSL.

Chris Blakely writes for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow him on Twitter @TheRealCBlakely.

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