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NWSL 2020 season broadcast rights and home openers

NWSL 2020 season checklist: broadcast rights and season openers

February 20, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
The National Women’s Soccer League is heading in the right direction as it has checked off two items from its busy checklist ahead of the 2020 season – reaching a broadcast rights deal with CBS and releasing the home game openers of each team.

CBS, the new home of the NWSL

The NWSL reached a broadcasting agreement with CBS Sports as it was reported by Sports Illustrated on Wednesday. The network will broadcast all league matches throughout its different platforms.

CBS will broadcast three matches on its network in an attempt to draw in larger audiences. Meanwhile, the CBS Sports cable network will have 14 games available on linear television. You can get access to the remainder of the games by subscribing to the network's digital platform, CBS All Access ($5.99 a month).

This step forward is vital for the NWSL as it has a history of struggling to find a consistent broadcasting partner. 

Taking it back to the inaugural season in 2013, the league signed a one-year deal with Fox Sports to show six regular-season games along with the semifinals and final on FOX Sports 2. The following year, the NWSL reached an agreement with ESPN where they provided coverage for three regular-season matches, semifinals and championship games on ESPN2 and three additional regular-season matches via ESPN3. It wasn't until 2017 that the league negotiated a three-year-deal with A&E to have full coverage of the league, but the deal came crashing down when the company backed out after having stream quality and scheduling difficulties with the Go90 stream.

This deal with CBS Sports has a healthy sound and look to it and can be considered a massive step forward for club soccer in the U.S.

Sneak peek of 2020 NWSL schedule: first home matches

The NWSL released a list of the 2020 home openers for each of the nine teams as it plans to release the rest of the schedule next week. 

The North Carolina Courage will open their season by taking on the Chicago Red Stars who will look to redeem themselves after last year's 4-0 NWSL Championship loss. And if that is not enough of an exciting start for Chicago, they will play their season opener at the Seat Geek Stadium against the Portland Thorns, in a rematch of the 2019 NWSL Semifinal.

Another interesting detail about this premature schedule release is that Reign FC will be the only team to play its home opener in May. The team will play two away matches to start the season and will host the Chicago Red Stars in Tacoma on May 3. Moreover, playing two matches before their opening match means we now know Reign FC's first three matches instead of two like every other team.

And before showing you the list, the last major talking point is the fact that Sky Blue FC will play its first home match at the Red Bull Arena on April 26 against Reign FC. They made the move from Yurcak Field to its new soccer-specific stadium during the offseason. 

Here is the list of home openers by date:

Saturday, April 18

North Carolina Courage vs Chicago Red Stars

Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park

Portland Thorns FC vs Utah Royals FC

Providence Park

Washington Spirit vs Reign FC

Audi Field

Sunday, April 19

Orlando Pride vs Sky Blue FC

Exploria Stadium

Friday, April 24

Utah Royals FC vs Orlando Pride

Rio Tinto Stadium

Saturday, April 25

Chicago Red Stars vs Portland Thorns FC

Seat Geek Stadium

Houston Dash vs North Carolina Courage

BBVA Stadium

Sunday, April 26

Sky Blue FC vs Reign FC

Red Bull Arena

Sunday, May 3

Reign FC vs Chicago Red Stars

Cheney Stadium

What's left on the NWSL 2020 season checklist?

Appoint a new league commissioner (projected to be announced next week)

Release the full schedule (projected to be unveiled next week)

Release new team logos

 

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