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NWSL Wants To Be The ‘Best League in the World’

  • The NWSL season begins on Saturday when the North Carolina Courage kick off against the Kansas City Current.
  • The league has two team sales, systemic reform, and its next set of media deals on its to-do list.
A view of the 2023-24 NWSL season match ball.
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the National Women’s Soccer League kicks off a crucial season for the league’s growth.

The NWSL is on an impressive trajectory, with huge leaps in attendance (80%), ticketing revenue (125%), and sponsorship revenue (87%) from 2021 to 2022. The early returns on the coming season are looking good: As of Monday, season-ticket sales were up 20% compared to all of last year.

The growth has led to a major increase in team valuations, with the fee to join a league rising from around $5 million a few years ago to about $50 million for expected new teams in the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston. 

The league is hoping for a similar multiple from its next media deal, which commissioner Jessica Berman said is on pace to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

The league is bringing in a reported $1.5 million on its domestic media rights pact with CBS, which runs through this season.

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“There are many interested parties in the media landscape,” Berman said at a media availability on Monday. “We think there are some really interesting opportunities both here and overseas to consider as we think about growing our brand globally and claiming our space as the best league in the world.”

Meanwhile, Berman has an eye on team sales in Chicago and Portland, spurred by issues of abuse and harassment with both teams. 

The league is overseeing systemic reform efforts, including establishing reporting procedures and human resource training for each of its teams.

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