The NWSL will be the first professional league (for a team sport) to return in the U.S. during COVID-19, the league recently announced. As has been rumored for many leagues like the NBA and MLS, the NWSL will send all teams to one location for a tournament, dubbed the 2020 Challenge Cup, that will serve as the 2020 season.
Unlike MLS which got a few weeks of regular season play prior to suspension, this will mark the first action for NWSL since the 2019 NWSL Championship held on October. Fans can watch the league’s return on CBS All Access, as well as the first game and championship game on CBS. All games will also be streamed live on Twitch.
#NWSL announces 2020 Challenge Cup presented by @ProcterGamble and @SecretDeodorant with the tournament's semis, final, and MVP award presented by @budweiserusa: https://t.co/0SPa8IzuaT pic.twitter.com/to7YNDBP3Y
— NWSL (@NWSL) May 27, 2020
What will the NWSL tournament look like?
The league will descend upon Herriman, UT for the tournament to be held at Zions Bank Stadium. The 25-game tournament kicks off on June 27 and will feature all nine teams. Each team will play four games in a preliminary round to determine seeding. The top eight teams will then advance to the quarterfinals at which point it becomes a knockout tournament. The semifinal and final games will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium, the home of Real Salt Lake. The tournament itself will take place over one month with the championship held on July 26.
Dell Loy Hansen, owner of the Utah Royals, will serve as host for the month. All housing, training, and competition needs will be taken care of in an athlete village, similarly to Olympic competition. Given the global health and safety crisis this is extremely important and one of the reasons the league is able to make a return.
Sponsors jump on board
The NWSL tournament is being supported by several brands, each with a history of supporting the league and women’s soccer. Proctor & Gamble and Secret are the presenting sponsors of the competition, while Budweiser will sponsor the semifinals, final, and MVP award. New to the table, however, is Verizon who has signed on to be a league partner through 2021.
We’re proud to partner with the @NWSL for their upcoming tournament and years to come. Get ready for the return of the best women’s soccer league in the world — starting June 27. pic.twitter.com/dVXSXqVukC
— Verizon (@Verizon) May 27, 2020
For additional insights into each brand’s more recent connection with soccer, see links below.
- P&G, Secret Look to Boost NWSL
- P&G Support Equal Pay
- Budweiser Becomes Presenting Sponsor of Women’s ICC
- Budweiser Helps NWSL Search for Sponsors
- Budweiser, ESPN Support NWSL – Won’t Stop Watching
- La Liga Taps Verizon to Help with U.S. Fan Engagement
Once Verizon and the NWSL officially announced the partnership, Budweiser got in on the action and harkened back to their Future Official campaign (see above link) by posting a GIF unveiling Verizon and their sponsorship category designation.
Now that’s a great connection! Let’s welcome @Verizon to the official @NWSL supporters club! #FutureOfficialSponsor #NewOfficialSponsor #WontStopWatching https://t.co/M9DNncplti pic.twitter.com/qBrlGO33Tq
— Budweiser (@budweiserusa) May 27, 2020