The Women’s Super League will air on network free-to-air TV for the first time in history thanks to a landmark broadcast deal spanning three years.
Starting next season — and until summer of 2024 — mammoth broadcasters Sky Sports and BBC will show WSL games live, in a deal that is reportedly worth upwards of £7m per season.
Sky Sports will air 44 matches on three channels, Main Event, Premier League and Sky Sports Football.
Meanwhile, the BBC is set to broadcast 22 live matches. A minimum of 18 will be shown on BBC One or BBC Two.
Kelly Simmons from the Football Association said the deal is “up there” in boosting women’s sport.
“It is one of the biggest deals commercially, definitely for women’s football in terms of a domestic deal, and up there for women’s sport,” said Simmons.
“We have benchmarks for what we think are the most successful, high-profile women’s sport leagues in the world like the WNBA [Women’s National Basketball Association] and the NWSL [National Women’s Soccer League], and they are low hundreds of thousands in terms of an average peak per week. We anticipate this would significantly be above that,” she added. Simmons also said this would be “one of those real step-change moments for the women’s game.”
“It’s going to be hugely visible next season. I’m sure it’ll inspire thousands and thousands of girls to play the game so I just can’t wait,” said Simmons.
FA commercial and marketing director Kathryn Swarbick called it a “watershed moment”.
“That reach, combined with this huge investment into the game, makes us really confident that this is going to be a huge leap forward in achieving our ambition of having the world’s best domestic women’s professional league,” said Swarbick.
England and Manchester City captain Steph Houghton called it a “huge moment” in an interview with BBC Sport.
“This is what we’ve been wanting,” said Houghton, who said the deal will “make us more visible” in what she considers to be the “best league in the world.”