NWSL announces game schedule for T.V Coverage on FOX Soccer
By Kim Tate
Women's soccer is being televised beyond National Team matches, giving the newly formed National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and its players the opportunity to show tv audiences the glory of the women's game.
The NWSL announced an agreement with FOX Sports Media Group in April, and today the 2013 national TV schedule has been released. The agreement will offer exclusive live coverage of nine matches, including six matches from the regular season, and all three playoff matches, which will include two semifinal games on August 24, and the championship game on August 31.
FOX Soccer will televise one game per week over the final six weeks. Each club will appear at least once ahead of the NWSL playoffs.
The first televised game is set for July 14 at 8:30 PM ET on FOX Soccer between the Seattle Reign FC and Washington Spirit at Starfire Complex in Tukwila, Wash. Both teams will face each other again in front of a TV audience on August 10th at Maryland SoccerPlex at 7:00 PM ET.
Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd and The Western New York Flash will also see air time twice in the regular season; once vs. Christie Rampone and Sky Blue FC on July 21 at 1:30 PM ET, and again on August 17 at 8:00 PM ET, against the Boston Breakers and fellow national team members Sydney Leroux and Heather O'Reilly. The game against the Breakers will be the final season push before the semifinal playoffs begin one week later on August 24 at 2:00 PM ET.
Always a tough battle, Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair of the Portland Thorns will host the Chicago Red Stars, led by Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod and U.S. midfielder Shannon Boxx on July 28 at 7:00 PM ET at JELD-WEN field in Portland, Oregon.
Thorns FC and their record -setting home crowd will return to the national spotlight a week later to host FC Kansas City on August 4 at 8:30 PM ET.
So why is this such a good thing for women's soccer in America? I can think of two reasons, although I'm sure my audience can conjure up many more:
1.) TV games have more klout and carry more weight in terms of what the fans and audience consider to be relevant. It's a positive step in the right direction if women's soccer and the NWSL will ever be sustainable for the long term.
2.) Portland will have two home games televised. Currently, Portland has the best atmosphere and has set record attendance numbers. Their home opener alone drew 16,479 fans - more than some MLS teams in a league that's been around for over a decade. TV audiences need to see the fans in the seats, and they need to see the vibrant support for the women's game that Portland brings. Merritt Paulson is no dummy - he certainly knows what he's doing and I think we should anticipate the Timbers and Thorns marketing and ticket sales staff will have no problem getting fans to rally for those two home matches in particular.
Bravo to the USSF and FOX Sports Media Group for recognizing the importance of this, and backing our women.
2013 NWSL National Television Schedule*
|Date||Home Team||Away Team||Time||T.V|
|July 14||Seattle Reign FC||Washington Spirit||8:30pm ET||FOX Soccer|
|July 21||Westen NY Flash||Sky Blue FC||1:30pm ET||FOX Soccer|
|July 28||Portland Thorns FC||Chicago Red Stars||7:00pm ET||FOX Soccer|
|Aug 4||Portland Thorns FC||FC Kansas City||8:30pm ET||FOX Soccer|
|Aug 10||Washington Spirit||Seattle Reign FC||7:00pm ET||FOX Soccer|
|Aug 17||Western NY Flash||Boston Breakers||8:00pm ET||FOX Soccer|
|Aug 24||Semifinal||2:00pm ET||TBD|
|Aug 24||Semifinal||8:00pm ET||TBD|
|Aug 31||Championship||8:00pm ET||TBD|
*Subect to change