The BBC will broadcast at least 18 games per season live on its main channels as part of the broadcast deal
The BBC will broadcast the Women’s Super League for the first time under a three-year broadcasting contract on the free TV network.
Starting next season, WSL games will be broadcast live on BBC and Sky, valued at £ 7m to £ 8m per season.
Remaining matches that have not been selected for broadcast by the BBC or Sky will be shown live on FA Player.
The BBC broadcasts 22 live games, at least 18 of which are shown on BBC One or BBC Two.
Sky Sports offers coverage of up to 44 games which will be shown on the Main Event, Premier League and Sky Sports Football channels.
The agreements with both broadcasters run until summer 2024.
Kelly Simmons of the football association expects the deal to give WSL a massive audience boost.
“It’s one of the biggest commercial offerings, definitely for women’s football in terms of a domestic deal and up there for women’s sports,” she said.
“We have benchmarks for what we believe to be the most successful and well-known women’s sports leagues in the world, such as the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) and the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League), with an average peak value per week.
“We assume that this will be significantly higher.”
England and Manchester City captain Steph Houghton told BBC Sport it is an “amazing step forward” for women’s football and the players can’t wait to “show the world what an incredible league we have “.
“The way this sport has developed in this country over the past few years has been amazing,” she added.
“I think this will really make our league the best in Europe, if not the world.”
What are the sending details?
The BBC has previously shown WSL games on the Red Button and iPlayer, as well as a weekly highlights show
- 22 live games on BBC TV, of which at least 18 on BBC One and BBC Two (remaining games on the Red Button and online)
- Up to 44 live games, including at least 35, will be shown on the Sky Sports Football, Premier League and Main Event channels
- Selected games will also be broadcast on Sky One and Sky Sports Mix at the same time
- All broadcasters have rights to online coverage, in-play clips and highlights (WSL clubs also have rights to in-play clips and highlights).
- Remaining matches that have not been selected for live broadcast will be displayed live on FA Player
- There will be a free-to-air game on the BBC every weekend, with Sky having two more tips
- Selected games are expected to take place on Friday 6:30 p.m. (GMT), Saturday 11:30 a.m. (GMT), Sunday 12:30 p.m. (GMT) and Sunday 6:30 p.m. (GMT)
- 75% of the investment proceeds go to WSL clubs, 25% to the women’s championship
“A turning point for the WSL”
Simmons, the FA’s director for the women’s professional game, said the deal combines two main priorities for the FA: increasing the visibility of the WSL and attracting investment to further develop the quality of the league.
“We just really want more and better. It’s always about looking ahead and trying to fix the things we’re not happy with. This feels like one of those real step-changing moments for the women’s game,” said Simmons.
“The work we are doing now is going to be projecting that future revenue down the line. We have always told clubs to believe and invest and now this will be the beginning of the realization that the game is is able to take profits and. ” [move away from] Long-term trust in the men’s game.
“It will be very visible next season. I’m sure it will inspire thousands and thousands of girls to play the game so I can’t wait.”
Kathryn Swarbrick, the FA’s Director of Commerce and Marketing, added, “This is a moment to celebrate – a turning point in the WSL future – with just one incredible view.
“This reach, coupled with this huge investment in the game, makes us very confident that this will be a huge leap forward in achieving our goal of having the world’s best domestic women’s professional league.”
How does the deal compare globally?
Manchester United’s Christen Press (right) was one of several USA World Cup winners to join the WSL this summer
The FA expects the audience numbers to be “well above” the most successful and “best known” national sports leagues for women in the world.
They also said it was “definitely” the largest commercial broadcasting deal in women’s football.
“We will be broadcasting more live games, reaching a larger audience and generating more revenue than any other domestic women’s league in the world,” said Swarbrick.
“I think that’s pretty big testament to the strength of the product that the WSL is now.”
A record 1.12 billion viewers watched the 2019 Women’s World Cup. according to Fifa, while 28.1 million people saw BBC coverage of the tournament on TV and online.
“We attract players from all over the world, but at the same time English players test themselves against the best in this league,” said Houghton.
“The standard of the league is rising and that’s mainly because people are training full time.
“I think it has only grown so quickly in the last few years – since the 2015 World Cup. Being the center of attention is really something special.”