We’ve Been Waiting a Lifetime for the Details: NWSL Releases Broadcast Details

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Nearly two months after the initial announcement, the NWSL and Lifetime have finally released the details of their TV deal. 

During the 22-match regular season, Lifetime will broadcast one game a week on Saturday afternoons as well as the post-season–two semifinal matches and the championship. This deal exceeds the NWSL’s previous arrangement with Fox Sports in 2016, where six games in the last weeks of the regular season and the three post-season matchups were broadcast on their channels. 

The big news included in today’s release isn’t the number of matches being broadcast or the inclusion of the post-season but information regarding the talent who will be calling the Game of the Week matches. Lifetime has brought on Jenn Hildreth for the play-by-plays while former USWNT midfielder Aly Wagner will serve as analyst. Dalen Cuff will host the pregame show and be on the sidelines and Kate Markgraf will be available for select appearances. 

For those wondering about the streaming availability of the Saturday Game of the Week, Lifetime and the NWSL stated that:

“The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will also be available for live and on-demand streaming via the Lifetime iOS and Android apps and online at MyLifetime.com. In addition, international fans outside of the United States can watch live and on-demand streaming of the Game of the Week via NWSLsoccer.com.”

One of the biggest worries coming out of the news for this deal was international fans ability to see games. This information seems as though it will help to relive that worry. However, no information about the streaming of any non-Game of the Week matches has been released yet.

The breakdown of which matches will be broadcast are, not surprisingly, almost exclusively taking place at stadiums that also host MLS or NASL teams. This is likely a cost-saving measure, as those stadiums are likely already equipped with the telecommunications infrastructure to produce and air broadcast-ready game content and media packages.  It will be interesting to see what effect this has on the non-affiliated teams in the league, whether it will inspire the upgrade of those stadiums not featured in the Lifetime coverage this season.

Home Team Games at Home
Seattle Reign FC 1
Sky Blue FC 1
Chicago Red Stars 3
Houston Dash 3
North Carolina Courage 4
Orlando Pride 5
Portland Thorns FC 5

As for who will be on TV as the home or away team? It’s a pretty lopsided split. 

Team

Total Game of the Week Appearances

Boston Breakers

1

FC Kansas City

1

Washington Spirit

3

Seattle Reign FC

4

Sky Blue FC

4

North Carolina Courage

5

Chicago Red Stars

6

Portland Thorns FC

6

Orlando Pride

7

Houston Dash

7

Below is the full schedule.

2017 NWSL Broadcast Schedule: (All times ET) 

Date Pregame Kickoff Home Team Visiting Team
Saturday, April 15, 2017 2:30 PM 3:00 PM Portland Thorns FC Orlando Pride
Saturday, April 22, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Orlando Pride Washington Spirit
Saturday, April 29, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Portland Thorns FC Chicago Red Stars
Saturday, May 06, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Chicago Red Stars Houston Dash
Saturday, May 13, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Houston Dash Sky Blue FC
Saturday, May 20, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Sky Blue FC Houston Dash
Saturday, May 27, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Houston Dash Seattle Reign FC
Saturday, June 03, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM North Carolina Courage FC Kansas City
Saturday, June 17, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Chicago Red Stars Washington Spirit
Saturday, June 24, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Orlando Pride Houston Dash
Saturday, July 01, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM North Carolina Courage Sky Blue FC
Saturday, July 08, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM North Carolina Courage Seattle Reign FC
Saturday, July 15, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Portland Thorns FC North Carolina Courage
Saturday, July 22, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Chicago Red Stars Orlando Pride
Saturday, August 05, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Portland Thorns FC Houston Dash
Saturday, August 12, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Orlando Pride Sky Blue FC
Saturday, August 19, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM North Carolina Courage Washington Spirit
Saturday, August 26, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Seattle Reign FC Portland Thorns FC
Saturday, September 02, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Orlando Pride Boston Breakers
Saturday, September 09, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Orlando Pride Seattle Reign FC
Saturday, September 23, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Houston Dash Chicago Red Stars
Saturday, September 30, 2017 3:30 PM 4:00 PM Portland Thorns FC Chicago Red Stars