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!