Thorns FC: The Striker’s Deadly Secret! now on Lifetime

After four years the NWSL has finally landed a television agreement that promises to put the league on the air every week of the 2017 season.

There’s only one teensy little catch; the network that will show the matches has no real sports experience, no existing broadcast sports division, and no soccer broadcasting background at all.

From the link: “Lifetime, the premier entertainment destination for women, is making an unprecedented commitment with a three-year agreement to be the official broadcast partner. For the first time in NWSL’s history, a league game will be broadcast on television every weekend of the season. The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will provide fans throughout the country with a live viewing platform every Saturday at 4 p.m. ET to watch the best players in the world. A pre-game show will kick off each weekly event at 3:30 p.m. ET.”

I’m glad that the league now has a real broadcast deal, and I couldn’t be happier that the fans will get the chance to see a match-of-the-week, every week, compared to the ridiculously-tiny-six-games-and-that’s-assuming-there’s-no-fucking-drag-racing-going-on “deal” that the league cut with Fox Sports last season or the other minimal coverage eked out the years before that.

That said…we’ll have to see what level of soccer intelligence these Lifetime broadcasts will reach.  After all, this is the “killer husband” network, the home of deadly nannies, fatal cheerleaders, murderous boyfriends, and triple-crossing-BFFs; it’s hard to be sure whether a Lifetime camera operator will be able to figure out who they are supposed to be following on the pitch if nobody’s hiding a shiv in their shinguard.

The bad news is that the league and A&E/Lifetime are still sorting this out.  They don’t have a streaming service and it’s not certain how they’ll stream all the non-Lifetime games, so we may get stuck with some of the freakishly random streams like Kansas City’s.

At least the Flash aren’t the Flash anymore so we can be sure we won’t get the horrific Rochester meat bomber live feed.

The good news is that Lifetime is typically part of every basic cable package (i.e. it’s not so-much-sought-after that it’s kept behind the premium-channel-paywall…).

Let’s hope for the best, and remember that it’s only ten weeks until the season opener!

3 Comments Thorns FC: The Striker’s Deadly Secret! now on Lifetime

  1. John Whitehead

    I agree with all you say, but I would like to sound a modestly more optimistic note based on two facts: Lifetime’s ratings (like those of other similar networks) are dropping, and its CEO, Nancy Dubuc, has some sports background (college crew, I think). I suspect that Dubuc may have chosen the NWSL as a way of broadening the channel’s demographic. She may not have experience broadcasting sports, but I’ll bet she has the knowhow to hire people who can do it. If this represents the kind of commitment for her that it seems to, it could be a very big step for the league. Of course, if it turns out she just wanted a sports-themed reality melodrama, not so good for the league. For the moment I’ll wait and see, and hope for the best.

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  2. fdchief218

    Obviously, I’d be happier if this was ESPN. Soccer broadcasting is tricky, what with the pace of the game, the need for multiple cameras to catch the action and a director on top of that action (watch WNY’s or FCKC’s or Houston’s feeds to see what happens when the director has no idea which camera to go to or doesn’t care…).

    Hopefully Lifetime is willing to buy the expertise they need. And is a quick study.

    But…the funny thing is that as I was writing this comment I kept coming back to your thing about Lifetime and what it might want the NWSL for and what a terrific “reality melodrama” Lifetime could make about the Thorns’ 2013 season.

    I mean, think about it:
    – the beginning, with USWNT goddess Alex Morgan leading the consensus runaway champions
    – the team itself; Alex the Golden, the Idol of Millions of Prepubescent Girls…Sinc, the tough, silent veteran, whacky Tobin, adorable midget Mana Shim, kooky but fierce KK…
    – April and May, the team riding high…and then
    – things get tense; losses and draws mount up in June and July. Thorns slip to second, then to third. Drama in the locker room.
    – the Low Point; the August 4 3-2 loss to FCKC. The Foxhoven Interview
    – The Wrath of Christine: the final day win in Seattle when it looked like CPC had thrown in the towel and was playing for a draw.
    – The Lowest Low Point! The first half hour of the semi in KC…
    – The Dramatic Comeback and the win in overtime
    – The FInal; Tobin’s “stand in the wall and look pretty” free kick, Sinc-Alex with the deathblow, the Ragequit of Abby Wambach.

    Plus think of all the wonderful “human interest” stories; John and Cindy Parlow Cone struggling to keep their marriage going amid the pressure of her first season as coach…the birth of the Riveters and the Secret Lives of Fans…some sort of imaginary feud between Foxhoven and Morgan (?)…Adorable Mana and her Adorable Girlfriend learning to live and love in Portland…

    We’re talking pure Emmy-award-winning gold here…

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