Just Women’s Sports has inked a media partnership with the National Women’s Soccer League that includes rights to distribute NWSL highlights from this and past seasons across the sports media company’s social and digital platforms. The goal is to drive more fans toward NWSL broadcasts, which are currently carried by CBS and Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch, and have recently seen significant spikes in viewership around regular and post-season matches.
The deal will not infringe on the women’s soccer league’s media rights agreement with either distributor, Just Women’s Sports founder and CEO Haley Rosen said, but it will allow the platform to push out NWSL highlights without having to wait for the league to clip and share them first. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“For women’s sports to go mainstream…you need to make the product accessible,” Rosen said. “That’s the full game, the highlights, the stats—people need to see these women play and compete at the highest level because the product is really good. It’s just way too hard to see. You’re used to seeing your social feeds flooded with men’s sports highlights; we don’t see that on the women’s side. This is a really important first step towards making the product more accessible.”
New NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman is particularly interested in the platform’s specific audience of fans of women’s sports, which it says has tripled in size in the last year, as site traffic as well as social following and engagement numbers continue to trend upward.
“This is an exciting opportunity to partner with a digital-first media brand dedicated to growing the audience for women’s soccer,” said Berman. “Just Women’s Sports understands the space, and we believe this is just the beginning of what will be an important and long-lasting relationship between JWS and the NWSL.”
The news comes as Just Women’s Sports renews its similarly structured media partnership with Athletes Unlimited, a network of women’s professional leagues for softball, lacrosse, basketball and volleyball. Two of the sports, softball and lacrosse, are roped into the organization’s deal with Just Women’s Sports.
Both deals come on the heels of the media platform’s $6 million raise, led by Joe Tsai’s Blue Pool Capital at a $36 million valuation. Tsai—co-founder of ecommerce giant Alibaba and owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, WNBA’s New York Liberty and a pair of NLL franchises—was joined by David Blitzer, Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang, Billie Jean King, sports NFT marketplace Dapper Labs and investment firm SC Holdings, as well as returning investors Will Ventures, Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures and Drive by DraftKings.
Athletes including Allyson Felix, Abby Wambach, Sam Kerr, Paul Rabil and Apolo Ohno also joined the round, which brings the company’s total capital raised to $10 million.
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