The NWSL Championship features the most-watched game in league history

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Ratings continue to show that people watch when women’s sport is televised.

The National Women’s Soccer League title game was televised for the first time in prime time on Saturday, to an average audience of 915,000. This is a 71% increase over last year’s viewership and the most-watched game in NWSL history. said CBS. The game was also Paramount Plus’ most streamed NWSL match ever.

While the Portland Thorns clinched their third NWSL championship and defeated the Kansas City Current, they also culminated in a season of immense adversity. The Thorns have been at the center of the scandal since an investigative report revealed and confirmed how owner Merritt Paulson and general manager Gavin Wilkinson allowed former head coach Paul Riley to coach in the league for six years despite being aware of the sexual harassment allegations. In a series of resignations and layoffs earlier this month, Paulson removed himself from the franchise’s decision-making process.

In another win, the surge in viewership came after FIFA rejected several bids for broadcasting rights to the 2023 Women’s World Cup because they were too low, sources said. That tournament is less than nine months away. The NWSL Championship numbers give FIFA more concrete evidence to support their claim that “the opportunity for women’s football is there”.

As they ponder the future of the NWSL, fans can take delight in the youth of the newly crowned league champions. Sophia Smith, 22, led the team in an impressive performance that made her the league’s youngest MVP. Meanwhile, midfielder Olivia Moultrie, 17, watched exuberantly as her older team-mates celebrated the league title.

Much like the young core of the Thorns, the NWSL is still in its infancy. MLS just signed a 10-year deal with Apple worth $250 million annually. By comparison, the NWSL’s current media rights deals are worth $1.5 million per year for three seasons with CBS.

With the NWSL media rights finalized in late 2023, the valuation can only go up from here.

Portland Thorns FC is still in its infancy, as is the growing audience for women’s football (Photo by Ira L. Black/Getty Images).





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