A+E Networks has purchased an equity stake in the National Women’s Soccer League, and it will broadcast weekly matches on Lifetime.
The two companies announced the news in a joint news conference Thursday, also unveiling plans to launch NWSL Media, which will oversee live streaming of all matches.
“It’s a transformational day for our league,” NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush said during the news conference on YouTube.
The three-year TV agreement with Lifetime will put games on the station every Saturday at 3 p.m., the top broadcast arrangement in the league’s history. The league has not yet released its 2017 schedule.
“As a former college athlete, I know the importance of sports in the lives of women and girls,” said Nancy Dubuc, the president and CEO of A+E Networks. “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.”
NWSL Media will serve as the commercial branch for the league, overseeing its broadcast and sponsorship rights. It will also administer a new website and phone app.
The NWSL is a 10-team league that will enter its fifth season this spring.
“A+E Networks and its resources are a fantastic fit for women’s professional soccer and will have a major impact on continuing to raise the profile of what we feel is already the best and most competitive league in the world,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said.