Fox Sports Continues Push for Soccer Content, Inks Deals for New Womens Soccer League, US Tournament
Fox Sports Media Group continued its fervent push for more soccer content this week, inking rights deals to carry the the newly-unveiled, US-based Guinness International Champions Cup and the soon-to-launch National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
FSMG’s deal for the Guinness International Champions Cup (created by Relevent Sports, a division of RSE Ventures) gives Fox the domestic rights to the brand new eight-team bracketed soccer tournament, which will Take place this summer in the United States. Meanwhile, the one-year agreement with the NWSL gives Fox the right to televise nine games during the league’s inaugural season.
Eight teams will participate in the new Guinness International Champions Cup, including club teams from Spain, Italy and the United States. In addition to Inter Milan, Juventus, the LA Galaxy, and Real Madrid, four additional marquee international clubs will be announced on May 7. The tournament has long been a passion project for Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
“The United States has never seen a club soccer tournament of this scope and caliber,” says Charlie Stillitano, Relevent Sports CEO. “The Guinness International Champions Cup will bring a new level of excitement and enthusiasm to the burgeoning sport of soccer across America. The teams are world-class, the fans are passionate and we could not be happier to facilitate such a landmark event. I want to personally thank Stephen Ross for the vision and support in turning this tournament into reality.”
The tournament will open in Europe on July 27 in a city to be determined and be contested over seven days at six marquee venues across the United States, with semi-finals in New York and Los Angeles on Aug. 3-4. US Host cities include Phoenix, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.
The tournament will be seen in 151 countries across the world and culminate on August 6-7 as all eight teams descend upon Miami’s Sun Life Stadium for a pair of doubleheaders including the championship match on August 7. FOX Soccer will televise 11 of the prestigious tournament’s 12 matches live, including the championship on Aug. 7 at 9:00 PM ET. FOX Sports will also add to the coverage and broadcast a live match Saturday Aug, 3 at 8:00PM ET. In future years the tournament will be televised by FOX Sports 1, FSMG’s new national multi-sport cable channel launching in August.
“FOX Soccer is excited to work with Relevent Sports and Guinness to be the primary television home for the Guinness International Champions Cup this summer,” says David Nathanson, EVP and GM, FOX Soccer. “The tournament brings great teams from around the world together in the U.S. and gives American soccer fans a chance to see the sport and at its highest level of play.”
Miami’s Sun Life Stadium will host all eight teams for the championship and consolation rounds on August 6 and 7. All teams will play at least three matches in the bracketed tournament, including one match at Sun Life.
NWSL Ready to Take the Pitch on Fox
As part of the NWSL agreement, FSMG will air six regular-season matches and all three playoff matches, which include the two semifinal games on August 24 and 25, and the championship game on August 31.
“We are very pleased to announce this media agreement with FOX Sports Media Group,” says NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey. “The opportunity to highlight the race for the playoffs and the three biggest games of the season that will decide the first league champion on national television is important for the growth of the league.”
Beginning July 8, FOX Soccer will televise one game per week over the final six weeks of the season, leading up to the NWSL Playoffs. The complete broadcast schedule will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
“The agreement with the NWSL showcases our support of women’s soccer and the growing popularity it’s experiencing in the country,” says Nathanson. “We are excited to be the network home for the sport’s top level players, many of whom will be featured on FOX Sports at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is an eight-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring players from Canada, Mexico and U.S. The founding clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, the Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash. Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the United States Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association, and Federation of Mexican Football.