In what could be a significant move for the growth of the women's game, the Football Association has appointed an organisation to consult on the sale of Barclays FA Women's Super League media rights.
Women's Sports Group is a new company that was set up by Dame Heather Rabbatts to increase the profile of women's sport. The company will be working on selling the rights for the league starting with the 2021-22 season.
Currently, BT Sport is the main rights-holder in the UK with a three-year deal that ends in 2021. This season BT is showing some 30 live women's football matches from the WSL as well as FA Cup and Continental League Cup.
The BBC has the rights to show one live match a week through its digital and red button platforms. It is thought that neither broadcaster pays for the rights, but instead simply covers the production costs.
Sport Business reports that Women's Sport Group said: “The new round of media-rights sales for the 2021-22 football season onwards, which include all FA-controlled women’s football club and national team fixtures, comes as women’s football exposure continues to rise with participation levels increasing.”
Rabbatts, who served as the FA's first female non-executive director, said: “The next round of media rights for women’s football is hugely important to the long-term success of the game. There has been great momentum within women’s football since last summer’s Fifa Women’s World Cup where over one-billion views were recorded and we will be looking to build on this to further elevate the value of women’s sport.
“Women’s Sports Group is delighted to work with The FA as we jointly look to drive value in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and women’s football more broadly.”
Should the FA successfully sell the rights to the WSL, this could be a huge move towards increasing the visibility and profitability of the women's game.
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