New WSL broadcast deal proves vital as football set for 350% viewing spike

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Women's football has been predicted to undergo a surge in viewership numbers ahead of the lucrative new television deal that was announced last month.

The BBC and Sky Sports will own broadcast rights to the Women's Super League as of next season. This game-changing milestone within the sport will guarantee as many as 66 live matches shown across the main channels in what is understood to be an agreement worth up to £21million.

Once the three-year broadcast deal comes into play, women's football has been forecast to skyrocket up to 350% in viewing numbers.

According to a survey composed by RunRepeat, viewership of the women's game is predicted to increase by 300-350% if fixtures are made easily accessible to watch. This in turn could start a domino effect in terms of monetary income for clubs which will hugely benefit those who have been particularly stung by the effects of Covid-19.

RunRepeat's survey – which addressed 5,000 football fans – reveals that male supporters make up 61.9% of the women's football audience in the country. Furthermore, 34.4% of UK male fans would be willing to tune into women's football matches if they were shown on prime time television channels.

At the moment, the WSL is shown sporadically across the BBC and BT Sport channels. But the majority of fixtures are only available via BBC Red Button, iPlayer and the FA Player. With BBC One and BBC Two set to host a large chunk of the 2021/22 season's games, viewings will undoubtedly soar.

This is a major moment in the growth of women's football – once the WSL is receiving the reception it deserves, the lower tiers will hopefully follow suit and receive their fair share of airtime.

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