Elevated, polished pre-game shows are a staple in men’s sports, but have historically been lacking on the women’s side. We set out to change that with The Warm-Up, our signature pre-game show.
In a world where women’s sports have been historically underfunded and under-promoted, The Warm-Up seeks to level the playing field by bringing expertise and excitement to the biggest event in women’s sports. In 2022, we brought The Warm-Up to NWSL Championship weekend, airing live from onsite at Fan Fest. The Warm-Up was streamed on Paramount+ as part of the official Championship programming slate. The show was hosted by two of soccer’s biggest stars in Kelley O’Hara and Ali Riley, as well as award-winning journalist Autumn Johnson. It featured a recap of the 2022 season as well as a preview of the championship game, with both O’Hara and Riley giving their expert opinion and making championship picks. With a full set, including a College Gameday-like desk, as well as pre-programmed highlight packages and a digital short entitled “Kelley on the Street,” The Warm-Up was a show that both matched and amplified the excitement and passion surrounding NWSL Championship weekend.
We had done a previous Warm-Up during March Madness last year, with Lisa Leslie and Chiney Ogwumike hosting a live pregame show on TikTok for the women’s Final Four. Over 170,000 people tuned in to the show, proving there was an appetite for this kind of content.
We knew we wanted to go bigger and better for NWSL Championship weekend, which is why we partnered with the NWSL and CBS to ensure The Warm-Up could be an official part of the Championship day programme.
To promote the show and the NWSL Championship, we hit the streets of DC with two-time World Cup Champion and Olympic gold medalist Kelley O’Hara. “Kelley on the Street” was a humorous, social-first video featuring Kelley quizzing locals and tourists about women's soccer and the NWSL. The video immediately went viral throughout the soccer world, so much so that fans were quoting it two days later on-site at The Warm-Up.
“Kelley on the Street” brought a sense of humor and levity to the Championship festivities while also promoting The Warm-Up, which Kelley hosted alongside fellow NWSL star Ali Riley and award-winning journalist Autumn Johnson. We worked closely with all the talent to create a script that was full of both personality and expertise. Ally served as a sponsor, and as part of the partnership, we interviewed Ally’s CMO live during the show. In addition, our producers created several seamless highlights packages to be included during the show, giving it a polished, elevated feel. This level of production is standard on the men’s side, but has historically been missing from women’s sports.
We ran a 4+ week marketing campaign (including outreach to all local club teams) to ensure all fans within driving distance of DC knew about the opportunity to be in the crowd. As a result, a continual crowd of 200+ fans formed around the stage with home-made signs and fatheads of Kelley and Ali, creating an unbeatable environment.
The show was filmed on the grounds outside of Audi Field as part of NWSL Fan Fest with a live crowd. It was also streamed live on Paramount+, a platform with 66.5M subscribers. This made The Warm-Up an essential part of every NWSL fan’s Championship experience, whether they were watching the game at home or were lucky enough to be there at the stadium.
“Kelley on the Street” was also a viral success, garnering over 3M+ views and 50k shares across social media. The digital short has gone viral several times over since then, with a recent cut from the video garnering an additional 2M+ views on TikTok alone.
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