NWSL, Utah Royals score league’s first national TV deal with CBS, Twitch

Up to 20 Utah Royals FC games will be broadcast on the CBS family of networks thanks to a new television rights deal between the National Women’s Soccer League, CBS and live streaming platform Twitch.

NWSL games will be broadcast on CBS, CBS Sports Network or CBS All Access and Twitch for the next three seasons, the league announced Wednesday. The deal represents the first time a U.S. broadcast network will air live professional women’s club soccer nationally.

“This new media-rights agreement is a watershed moment for women’s soccer in the U.S. and around the world and is the first time NWSL matches will be available to such a wide audience,” Lisa Baird, Commissioner of the NWSL, said in a statement. “We are excited to work with CBS with its rich history, tradition and storied innovation to utilize 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.”

Two Royals games are scheduled for CBS Sports Network, starting with their road season opener against the Portland Thorns on April 18. The remaining 18 games are slated for All Access, the company’s streaming platform. Four Royals games will be streamed on Twitch.

But there were sacrifices that came from the new TV deal. URFC games will no longer be streamed live on the KSL TV application as they have been for the previous two seasons.

There will be still be games broadcast locally on KMYU, however. Those games will be announced before the start of the 2020 season.

Two NWSL games will be broadcast on CBS itself: Washington Spirit vs. OL Reign on April 18, and the NWSL championship game on Nov. 14.

CBS Sports will air a total of 87 NWSL games in the 2020 season across all three networks. Twitch will stream an additional 24 select contests for free.

Twitch is also the platform on which all 108 NWSL games — including postseason — can be viewed by an international audience.

“The NWSL and Twitch will collaborate on additional league and player-related content and original programming opportunities to enhance the overall fan-viewing experience and continue to grow women’s professional soccer around the world,” the league’s news release states.