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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Major Media Rights Deals, Landmark Stadium Pact To Propel NWSL’s Growth

  • KC Current sign 10-year naming rights deal for forthcoming stadium
  • Forthcoming media rights deals seen as transformative moment for the league
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The accelerating growth wave for the NWSL — one mirroring a similar path in the WNBA — has been boosted further by a set of major new deals for the league.

The Kansas City Current have completed a 10-year stadium naming rights agreement with Kansas City-based rail company CPKC. The $117 million CPKC Stadium, set to open next year, will be the country’s first to be built specifically for a women’s pro soccer team. 

Financial terms were not disclosed, but team officials called the deal a transformational moment for the franchise and league overall.

“This is a revolutionary investment from CKPC into women’s sports and significant commitment to the Kansas City community,” said Angie Long, Current founder and co-owner. 

Media Anticipation

Expectations, meanwhile, remain historically large for an anticipated set of media rights deals for the NWSL with ESPN, CBS, Amazon, and Scripps Sports. 

Projected to be completed in the coming weeks, the deals will increase the league’s national TV revenue by at least a factor of 10, and will significantly expand the NWSL’s presence across network, cable, and local television, and digitally.

“I think this is a big one,” said Julie Foudy, former U.S. women’s national team star and an Angel City FC co-owner, to Forbes. “This is a big one because it’s going to set the standard, not just for soccer, but for other leagues as well. Soccer is great in that we can be the standard bearers for a lot of things in women’s sports, similar to what Billie Jean [King] did in women’s tennis. There’s a lot of different sports looking at us and saying, ‘OK, what’s going to happen here?'”

The media and sponsorship activity for the NWSL run parallel to a wave of expansion for the league.

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