CBS is ready to be a women's sports hero

Coverage of the NWSL Challenge Cup is a key
COMMENTARY By Cliff Pfenning,

The only thing keeping CBS from being a huge winner in the current socially/culturally challenging times is CBS and its coverage of the National Women's Soccer League.

And, it's possibly a huge deal in that it's the right thing to do - cover live women's sports when there's nothing but taped coverage of men's sports to cover.

Imagine the story that would be created if CBS announced it was upgrading its coverage of the NWSL Challenge Cup to include two extra live matches on its network, not its streaming service CBS All-Access.

CBS made a huge step forward for the league in March, agreeing to become the NWSL's media partner and carry two matches on its broadcast channel (free TV), something that hadn't happened for women's pro soccer - the two previous leagues and seven years of the NWSL. CBS announced it would carry the league's opening match and its final on the broadcast channel. A bundle of other matches would be carried by CBS All-Access, a streaming channel. That announcement happened March 11. Rudy Gobert happened later that day.

When the NWSL set up its Challenge Cup for June 27-July 26, CBS was right there with the same basic idea - cover the opening match and final on the broadcast newtork. The opening match, drew a pro women's soccer record audience of nearly 600,000 viewers. has been doing its share for coverage of the tourney.

But, the network is poised to make a huge impact on women's sports, women's sports media coverage, if it wants to by upgrading its commitment to the league and broadcast a couple more matches.

Imagine if CBS announced to the world that it was going to cover one or two more matches on its network, taking advantage of the fact there's basically no other live events to cover. How much free advertising would just such an announcement get for CBS? And the NWSL.