NWSL Championship Relocated to Louisville After Backlash From Players
The National Women's Soccer League championship has been relocated from Portland to Louisville, the NWSL announced on Wednesday. The move was a direct result of the massive backlash from players who had issues with the original venue and local start time.
"At the request of the players, the NWSL has moved the NWSL Championship from Portland to Louisville," the league said in a statement. "We realize the impact this has on the fans who have bought tickets and made travel arrangements. We hope that our fans will understand that this move is made with the support of the NWSL, the Players Association, the Portland Thorns, and Racing Louisville. Portland understood the importance of listening to the players, and Louisville stepped up to host.
"Players embraced the opportunity to kickoff at noon local time in a fantastic venue. We sincerely hope that fans will consider making this move east with us, or that you watch this historic game on CBS."
The game was originally going to be played at Providence Park, a turf stadium, and would have started at 9 a.m. PT. Players Jessica McDonald, Jessica Fishlock, Rachel Corsie, Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris all took to Twitter at the time and shared their disappointment in the local start time and turf field.
But in September The Athletic's Meg Linehan reported that Portland was the only remaining option to host the game. Orlando and Louisville were the only other bids to host the championship but both withdrew their bids, leaving only Portland, per the report. The game is scheduled for the 12 p.m. ET slot on CBS because throughout the fall CBS broadcasts college football at 3:30 p.m which is why a later time slot was not an option.
But with Louisville stepping up, Lynn Family Stadium will be host to the championship. The stadium is soccer-specific and seats a little over 15,000 fans. That, along with the 12 p.m. local start time, the players's requests are satisfied. The date of the game has not changed from Nov. 20.