NWSL fans were unable to watch significant chunks of two league games Saturday night due to technical difficulties.
The Paramount+ streams for the NWSL games that started at 7pm ET — North Carolina Courage vs. Washington Spirit and Orlando Pride vs. Gotham FC — featured never-ending Paramount+ interstitials and music instead of game action for more than 30 minutes.
“My nightmares will have this as background music forever,” NWSLPA president Tori Huster tweeted.
It is unclear what caused the technical difficulties. Just Women’s Sports reached out to the NWSL, Paramount+, and Vista WorldLink (the company that handles production services) and is awaiting responses.
While the Paramount+ feeds were completely down, international viewers watching on the NWSL website didn’t have it much better. Fans took to Twitter to post photos of the glitchy game coverage.
this is quite literally better quality than what the nwsl website is showing https://t.co/t966MRbiC8 pic.twitter.com/fqM3T1B3ig— em (@canxawfc) April 15, 2023
this is quite literally better quality than what the nwsl website is showing https://t.co/t966MRbiC8 pic.twitter.com/fqM3T1B3ig
In addition to fans being unable to watch competition, the technical difficulties also appear to have affected game stats. The play-by-play stats for the impacted games feature only the most major plays (goals and cards) prior to the feeds coming back online. The missing stats are also reflected in the chalkboard diagrams on the NWSL website, which typically track everything from goals to completed passes to tackles lost.
Broadcast issues have long plagued the NWSL. The league announced last July that it was making near immediate upgrades to improve coverage, including adding higher-quality cameras and more robust infrastructure and staff. The NWSL’s current broadcast rights deal with CBS (which includes the streamed games on Paramount+) runs through this season. In January, NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman confirmed that the league’s broadcast rights are on the market after the exclusive negotiating window with CBS ended.
During Saturday night’s outage, fans — and players — took to social media to complain and commiserate. The Washington Spirit’s social media admin won the night with a series of cheeky tweets.
Admin trying keep everyone updated pic.twitter.com/G5mzZKYnNx— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) April 15, 2023
Admin trying keep everyone updated pic.twitter.com/G5mzZKYnNx
It was a good goal fyi pic.twitter.com/p4lUMu7NrA— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) April 15, 2023
It was a good goal fyi pic.twitter.com/p4lUMu7NrA