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USWNT’s January games available on HBO Max under new TV deal

USWNT forward Sophia Smith poses for a selfie after a September friendly against Nigeria. (Erin Chang/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s national soccer team will play two friendlies in January. The English-language broadcasts of both matches will air exclusively on HBO Max.

The matches in New Zealand — set for 10 p.m. ET Tuesday and 10 p.m. ET Friday — mark the beginning of the U.S. Soccer Federations’s new eight-year broadcast deal with Turner Sports. Previously, Fox Sports and ESPN shared the English-language broadcast rights for national team games.

“During our discussions it was clear how dedicated they are to growing soccer in the United States, especially their commitment to expand the women’s game,” U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone said when the deal was announced in March 2022.

The $200 million deal includes all women’s and men’s national team friendlies, as well as the SheBelieves Cup and U.S. Open Cup.

Turner Sports will broadcast more than 20 matches each year. About half of those will air on TBS or TNT, and all matches will stream on HBO Max. HBO and HBO Max counted 76.8 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2022.

U.S. Soccer reached a deal Tuesday with Telemundo, which will serve as the Spanish-language home for the matches. Matches will air across Telemundo, its cable channel Universo and the streaming service Peacock.

The USWNT’s matches against New Zealand will be available on Universo and on Peacock in Spanish, in addition to the English-language broadcast on HBO Max.

USWNT TV ratings decreased 10% in 2022 compared to 2021, with an average of 362,692 viewers across 13 games. But that marks a 20% increase from 2018, the corresponding year in the previous World Cup cycle.

The USWNT achieved its biggest TV audience of the year with its high-profile friendly against England in October, which drew 726,000 viewers on Fox. The team’s four most-watched matches of the year came in its four games on broadcast channels, one on ABC and three on Fox.

The 2023 World Cup will appear on Fox Sports networks and on Telemundo networks.