Thorns FC

National Women's Soccer League announces 2024 schedule footprint, competition calendar

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2024 regular season kicks off March 16; framework features 190-match schedule, expanded playoff format and revised NWSL Challenge Cup

NEW YORK – The National Women’s Soccer League today announced the competition framework for 2024, featuring a 190-match schedule, an expanded playoff and a revised NWSL Challenge Cup format. The 2024 campaign marks the beginning of the league’s landmark, four-year domestic media rights agreement that will see 118 matches featured on national platforms throughout the season.

“The 2024 season marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the NWSL and one that will set the tone for the future of our sport in the U.S. and globally,” said NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman. “Women’s soccer shined on an international stage in 2023 and as attendance, viewership and investment figures continue to explode, our league has never been better positioned to capitalize on the momentum the game is experiencing. Underscored by the addition of our 13th and 14th franchises, an enhanced match calendar and, critically, groundbreaking media rights agreements that will ensure our games are readily accessible to more fans than ever before, the 2024 campaign represents a new era for the NWSL as we continue our efforts to deliver the best product in professional soccer.”

Per CBA and NWSL rules, clubs may hold preseason camps beginning as early as January 22 but no later than January 29 prior to the start of league competition.

NWSL Challenge Cup

New in 2024, the NWSL Challenge Cup has been reformatted to open each season as a single contest with the prior campaign’s winner of the NWSL Shield, presented by CarMax, against the reigning NWSL Champion. In the event that the Shield winner and the NWSL Champion are the same team, the Challenge Cup will serve as a rematch of the previous season’s Championship match.

The 2024 NWSL Challenge Cup between defending NWSL Champion NJ/NY Gotham FC and San Diego Wave FC, winner of the 2023 NWSL Shield, presented by CarMax, will take place Friday, March 15 ahead of regular season kick off on Saturday, March 16. The match will stream live on Prime Video, marking the start of the platform’s 2024 NWSL programming that also includes coverage of Friday night matches and a quarterfinal match in the league playoffs.

2024 Schedule

Comprised of a balanced 26-match schedule, the 182-match regular season will be played over 25 weeks. The schedule has been formatted to avoid staging NWSL matches during FIFA windows and maintain flexibility for the league’s top players as they compete with both club and country.

In addition to the CBA-mandated league break from July 8 to 14, the NWSL will break from league play from July 15 to August 18 while the Paris 2024 Olympics are staged. During this time, the league will organize a tournament, featuring international participants and all 14 NWSL clubs, beginning the weekend of July 19-21. Further details regarding the competition and format are forthcoming.

In total, each team will compete in 26 regular season matches, 13 matches at home and 13 matches on the road.

As part of the league’s expanded playoff format, eight clubs will qualify for the 2024 NWSL Playoffs, which will now consist of four quarterfinal matches and eliminate byes to the semifinals. The quarterfinal round will take place the weekend of November 9-10 ahead of the semifinal round set for the weekend of November 16-17. The 2024 campaign will conclude with the NWSL Championship on November 23.

The full league schedule and accompanying broadcast details will be released at a later date.

Broadcast Information

Beginning next season, 118 matches will be distributed across the following partner platforms:

  • The NWSL will begin each regular-season weekend with Friday night matches on Prime Video.
  • Each Saturday night that follows will include a double-header on Scripps’-owned ION network, available over-the-air in 123 million homes.
  • A package of regular season matches will air on the CBS Television Network and stream live on Paramount+, with additional matches airing on CBS Sports Network.
  • ESPN will air a package of matches across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes (Spanish). All NWSL matches on ESPN platforms and on ABC will stream live on ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The package also includes English, Spanish and Portuguese-language rights in Latin America.

In addition to Prime Video’s playoff coverage, CBS and Paramount+ will also have rights to one quarterfinal and one semifinal while ESPN/ABC are slated to air two quarterfinal matches and one semifinal contest.

For the third-straight season, the NWSL Championship will air in primetime on the CBS Television Network and stream on Paramount+.

In addition to the schedule footprint, the league has released the 2024 competition calendar which is available here.