Jessica Berman's importance to the NWSL

Berman contributed to the improvements and growth of the league
Berman is the first woman to win the Executive of the Year award
Berman is the first woman to win the Executive of the Year award / Omar Vega/USSF/GettyImages

Jessica Berman is an important name in women's soccer, specifically for the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). Her history with the league began in 2022 when she took on the role of commissioner. This marked a turning point. It was a decisive moment as she stepped in after a series of allegations of emotional abuse and sexual misconduct in several teams.

Berman took on the challenge of creating a safe environment for players, staff, and fans, while also restoring confidence in the league. She also played a role in the agreement between the NWSL and the NWSL Players Association, which secured more robust compensation and benefits packages, improvements in training and playing environments, and a continuous commitment to elevate the league's standards to remain the best in women's soccer.

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Jessica Berman managed to improve broadcast contracts. Previously, the NWSL had only a single live TV slot. She secured a deal with CBS for prime-time broadcasts and reached agreements with four major streaming and cable partners, totaling $240 million over four years, a value 40 times higher than the previous deal.

The impact of these changes is clear: with more visibility, NWSL games gained prominence, elevating the league to a new level. In 2023, stadiums began to fill up again, with an estimated attendance of 1.49 million spectators, not to mention the increase in teams from 12 to 14.

For all her achievements, Berman became the first woman to win the SBA Executive of the Year award. Under her leadership, we can expect more growth in women's soccer, positioning the NWSL as the world's premier league, attracting high-level players from around the globe and fostering a strong culture in the sport.