Monday, November 29, 2021

Historic new TV deal announced for the Women’s Super League

The Women’s Super League will be shown on Sky Sports and the BBC from next season in a historic, TV deal thought to be worth around £21m across three seasons. Since 2013, BBC and BT Sport have shared the rights with BT Sport showing 22 live matches during this season and the BBC picking up games on the red button and their online i-Player service. Games not shown on either channel are aired live on the FA Player app.

From next season, Sky Sports will take over from BT Sports and they have pledged to show 35 of their 44 WSL games on their Premier League and Main Event channels. For their part, BBC have pledged to show 18 of their 22 live games on either BBC One or BBC Two rather than the red button. The BBC reportedly averages viewing figures of 285,000 for WSL games while their Sunday evening highlights show, the Women’s Football Show, is said to average around 500,000 viewers.

The deal is the first of its kind in English women’s football, previously BT and BBC didn’t pay for the right to show games, instead just absorbing the broadcasting costs. There is also a pledge that 25% of the TV money will go to clubs in the WSL Championship, the second tier of women’s football in England. Some of the money will be used for central investments, including support for development of refereeing and for pitch improvements to reduce the number of fixture postponements. This deal will increase the revenue coming into the women’s game in England as well as raising the profile markedly.

The deal will usher in some new kickoff times too, with broadcast games set to take place at 1830GMT Friday, 1130GMT Saturday, 1230GMT Sunday and 1830GMT Sunday. Sky and BBC will have highlights rights and clubs will be permitted to post in-game highlights on their social media channels.

The FA’s director of commercial and marketing, Kathryn Swarbrick, said,: “We are going to be working really closely with Sky Sports on what they do best, which is to monster this whole thing up, so really driving awareness of the WSL, building a profile of the players, of the clubs, and also creating the kind of content that will excite fans on the pre- and post-match commentary, and the story-telling around the WSL more broadly.”

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Peter Story Teller

Great exposure for the WSL but now the FA will need to do something about the standard of officiating otherwise this could backfire and set the league back years!

Runcorn Gooner

Can’t see why this would be downvoted. Most of the managers have complained about the standard as they are part time. The United manager on Friday was very vocal about the ref though perhaps she should also look at her players. We easily held on with 10 players for half an hour.

Joe Montemurro diplomatically says he doesn’t comment on refs which only means one thing.

Peter Story Teller

Probably down voted by the bigotted so called Arsenal fans that still don’t think girlies should be playing football at all never mind get to a level where they warrant TV coverage.
Last time I looked this is the 21st century and we embrace diversity and inclusivity!

Bleeding gums murphy

That is a bit patronising Peter.

Eeleen

Such a great news. Also more Friday evening games please. I really hope that they think more about same clubs teams schedule. I understand that it is not always possible to make sure that they are on different days (midweek European games have influence), but no big game should be on a day where men’s team is also playing. I also hope that they even more than now will go all out with headline fixture’s on men’s international breaks. And hope Arsenal will step up. It is quite embarrasing that NLD will take place second season in a row in… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Agreed. Friday evenings and earlier kick off on Saturday and Sunday is a good idea to avoid clashing with the men’s games.
Who would have thought that something involving the FA could be a good idea?

Matthinc

Yeah that’s been confusing me for time. Just play at the Emirates!! Should easily be able to schedule in tandem with the men’s league, especially as the women’s fixture list isn’t as congested.

Glory Hunter

This is great news, more exposure will inspire a generation of girls to pick up the sport

Alex

I am well up for this, I think we are getting a great viewing “product” for a bargain – can’t wait

A is for Arsenal

Feels like a big milestone in the development of the women’s game, great news. BTW: they want Sky to ‘monster up’ the coverage? Sounds quite unpleasant, actually.

Dave Roberts

There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

nanogunner

Can the women’s team play on Friday or Monday instead of the weekend clash with the boy’s team? At least, viewership would increase over the shorter-term as people would have time to watch the women’s game. But, again over the longer term, it could be harmful.

Christopher Humphrey

Bit of a twin edged sword. Yes, good to have further investment in the women’s game but football played in empty stadia for the benefit of a TV audience takes the soul from the game as has been shown during the pandemic.
A schedule of midweek games and early/late kick offs at the weekend is hardly likely to give great encouragement for fans to actually go to the games and shout their teams on.

Goonersince55

Although it’s good to see the profile of the women’s game being raised, I can see some downsides. As someone who travels to Borehamwood by train for home matches, 6.30pm on a Friday evening will make the journey a nightmare. I’m in decent health, but standing in a packed commuter train in my 70s is not an attractive prospect! I also wouldn’t want to see too many games played in the main stadiums. At Meadow Park you can get close to the players at the end of a match and mix friendlily with supporters of the other team. There’s also… Read more »

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