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NWSL commissioner: Next TV deal is ‘single most important thing’

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman speaks on air during a 2023 match between Racing Louisville FC and OL Reign. (EM Dash/USA TODAY Sports)

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman could not share too much about the league’s new media rights deals, but she is “incredibly excited,” she told Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis on the latest episode of Just Women’s Sports‘ “Snacks” podcast.

As reported by Sportico, the NWSL has agreed to a slate of four-year contracts with ESPN, CBS, Amazon and Scripps. The deals, which are set to be signed in the coming weeks, run through the 2027 World Cup.

The NWSL’s current deal with CBS is worth approximately $1.5 million per year but requires the league to pay for production. The new media rights agreements are worth in the low eight figures, Sports Business Journal reported.

CBS is set to be the home of the semifinals and championship match, while Amazon will get a “Game of the Week” package, according to Sports Business Journal. ESPN and Scripps will televise games as well, though what shape their setups will take remains to be seen.

“What I can say is that I’m incredibly excited about what’s coming,” Berman said on “Snacks.” “Obviously, negotiating a media deal takes 12 to 18 months. And actually, it was one of the very first projects that I started when I came, working with our agency partner to do an analysis, a strategy analysis of how we want to approach the market and valuation and managing expectations on where we think the league is heading and what some of our goals and objectives are and then going to market.

“And we actually went to market nine months ago. So this has definitely been a very long process. It’s definitely a labor of love, in that we know that this is the single most important thing for the business side to be able to rise to the next level.”