A+E Buys Stake in Women’s Soccer League

A+E Networks has bought an equity stake in the National Women’s Soccer League and A+E’s Lifetime cable channel will become the broadcast partner and a sponsor of the league for three years.

The media company and the league have formed a joint venture, NWSL Media, that will act as the media and commercial arm of the league and oversee broadcast and sponsorship rights. NWSL Media will also manage the league’s digital assets, including the redesigned NWSLSoccer.com and a new app.

“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. The teams are filled with some of the best professional players in the world, and we are proud to welcome them to Lifetime,” said Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO, A+E Networks.

League matches will be produced in high definition and live streamed. Original content is being developed for pre-game, halftime and post-game programming.

Lifetime will schedule a NWSLGame of the Week on Lifetime on Saturdays at 4 p.m., marking the first time a league game is carried on national TV on a regular basis. Player jerseys will carry a Lifetime patch on their right sleeve.

NWSL Media is negotiating with potential partners to stream games not broadcast on Lifetime.

"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 and create opportunities for young women,” NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush said. “We are also extremely pleased to be able to present our fans with the most comprehensive national television and streaming packages in our history.”

The NWSL was founded in 2012 and has 10 teams.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.