Sky and the BBC have agreed a landmark TV rights deal with the Football Association for the Women’s Super League (WSL).
Under previous contracts, broadcasters have only paid production costs to show the WSL. The new three-year deal, which starts in September, is worth at least £7m per season, making it the most lucrative of any women’s professional football league in the world.
Sky Sports will show two fixtures per round, up to 44 per season, while the BBC will air 22, a minimum 18 of which will be on BBC One or BBC Two.
“It is a landmark moment for the women’s game and a massive breakthrough for women’s sport and women’s football,” said Kelly Simmonds, the FA’s director of the women’s professional game.
The 12 teams in the Women’s Super League currently share an annual prize fund of £500,000. This new deal could increase that ten-fold. Clubs in the Championship will receive a 25 per cent share of broadcast distributions.
WSL ‘more visible than ever before’
Viewing figures for women’s top-flight football have more than doubled in the last five years, a period of major growth for women’s sport more widely.
The new deal with Sky and BBC balances revenue and reach, marrying the sort of fees that only pay-TV platforms can offer with the greater availability of free-to-air channels. English cricket’s new competition, The Hundred, follows a similar broadcast model.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have secured this game-changing partnership that will ensure the Barclays FA Women’s Super League becomes more visible than ever before,” said Kathryn Swarbrick, FA director of commercial and marketing.