Major US broadcaster, CBS Sports, has teamed up with online streaming service Twitch to reach a landmark rights deal in relation to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the top flight of women’s club football in the US.

The three-year domestic deal ensures that 87 games will be shown in 2020.

These will be divided up as follows;

The season opener and the championship game on CBS’ flagship commercial channel, 14 games on their pay-television outlet ‘CBS Sports Network’ which will include both semi-finals, and 71 matches on ‘CBS All Access,’ which is the live streaming and on-demand service.

Twenty four of the games will stream for free on Twitch, owned by Amazon, who will also serve as the NWSL’s exclusive international media rights partner.

“The NWSL is elated to partner with CBS Sports and Twitch, two incredible media companies with a proven track record of award-winning coverage,” said recently appointed commissioner of the NWSL, Lisa Baird.

“This new media rights agreement is a watershed moment for women’s soccer in the US and around the world and is the first time NWSL matches will be available to such a wide audience.

Amplification

“We are excited to work with CBS with its rich history, tradition and storied innovation to utilise the power of their multiple platforms to reach more fans. We also are eager to team up with Twitch to showcase the brightest stars in the sport. These partnerships will continue to amplify the NWSL and its teams on a national and international stage.”

The agreements ensure that the long-term future of one of the NWSL’s key revenue streams is secure after several years of uncertainty.

Indeed, a three year partnership with A+E Networks was brought to a premature end last year, meaning that there the league had no traditional broadcast outlet ahead of the 2019 campaign.

Thankfully, last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup gave the sport a real shot in the arm, and the increase in popularity has meant that CBS will present national coverage of women’s professional club football live for the first time.

The 2020 NWSL season is scheduled to begin on April 18, subject to the coronavirus pandemic, with a game between OL Reign, who were recently rebranded after being acquired by French side Olympique Lyonnais, and Washington Spirit.