Lifetime’s Partnership With the National Women’s Soccer League Includes Broadcasting Games

A+E Networks is taking an equity stake in the league

Alex Morgan and her fellow National Women’s Soccer League players are headed to Lifetime for the next three years.
Getty Images

For the first time in two decades, Lifetime is getting back into the live sports business.

Beginning in April, the network will become the exclusive U.S. TV home to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), as well as an official league sponsor. It’s part of a three-year deal in which A+E Networks will take an equity stake in the professional women’s soccer league.

NWSL and A+E Networks will launch NWSL Media, which will oversee all of the league’s global broadcast and sponsorship rights, as well as manage its digital assets. NWSL Media will be responsible for overseeing the livestreaming operations for all games, and it is negotiating with outlets to livestream the games that Lifetime won’t be broadcasting.

This will be the first live sporting event on Lifetime since the network carried WNBA games back in the late ‘90s. The NSWL was founded in 2012 and has 10 teams around the country.

“As a former college athlete, I know the importance of sports in the lives of women and girls and I couldn’t be more thrilled to join forces with NWSL and U.S. Soccer to ensure professional women athletes are elevated as the entire country can watch and be inspired by their strength and athleticism,” said Nancy Dubuc, A+E Networks president and CEO, in a statement.

“This is a transformational partnership in the evolution of the league, and we are so appreciative of Nancy Dubuc and her team at A+E Networks as they take a leadership position in the growth of our league,” said NSWL commissioner Jeff Plush in a statement. “We are also extremely pleased to be able to present our fans with the most comprehensive national television and streaming packages in our history.”

Lifetime will air a league game every weekend of the season, on Saturdays at 4 p.m. This will be the NWSL’s biggest television exposure in league history. Last season, the league’s TV partner, Fox Sports 1, aired only six games: three regular season matches and three playoff games.

All NWSL players will wear a Lifetime patch on the right sleeve of their jerseys.