CBSSN Was Supposed To Air NWLS’s Best Rivalry; Instead The First 20 Minutes Were Bull Riding

NWSL fans were infuriated over some real bullsh!t on Friday night.

Fans tuning in to CBSSN for one of the best rivalries in American sports on Friday night were infuriated for the first 20 minutes of the match. As the OL Reign and Portland Thorns began play at Providence Park, CBSSN was showing a got damn rodeo.

CBSSN didn’t join the Thorns-Reign match until 20 minutes had passed by, instead showing bull riding, which many consider animal abuse. The match finished in a 0-0 draw, but the story was the disrespect CBS showed women’s soccer. 

Fans, members of the media and even NWSL/USWNT stars took to Twitter to express their disgust at CBS, including Alex Morgan and Crystal Dunn.

Dunn is a member of the Thorns and she couldn’t even watch the match. She’s missing this season while pregnant with her first child, though she’s still been training with the team.

For decades, women’s sports have been mostly ignored by the largest media companies. Though that’s begun to change in recent years with higher profile coverage of the WNBA, NWSL and women’s college sports, the truth is women’s sports generally remain second class in the minds of the executives at broadcasters like CBS, NBC and ESPN.

Such was the case Friday night as bull riding was given precedence over the NWSL. Mother fucking bull riding. 

While it’s not uncommon for broadcasters to join games in progress because of prior events going long, it’s not common for the prior event to be something most don’t even consider a sport and some consider animal abuse. Look, I’m from Texas; I grew up going to the Houston Rodeo every year, so I’ve seen more than my fair share of bull riding. It’s not an event that deserves to preempt soccer, and CBS should be embarrassed over the disrespect it showed the NWSL. 

Though CBSSN showed the start of the Reign-Thorns match on its website, many fans reported problems getting the stream to work. It didn’t help that because the game was supposed to be on CBSSN, fans who subscribe to Paramount+ (where most of the matches are streamed) couldn’t even use the streaming service to view the game.

To say NWSL fans were pissed would be a gross understatement. CBSSN’s tweet about the match starting at 10:30 p.m. ET was ratioed hard with hundreds of replies and quote tweets lambasting the broadcaster. 

While the large population of women-hating soccer fans will probably say the NWSL doesn’t get good ratings, it’s worth pointing out the NWSL Challenge Cup, when put on TV, has had better ratings than MLS this season.

As for the match, you can catch the highlights below, including a few from the opening 20 minutes before the CBSSN coverage began.

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