New Women’s Sports Group to advise FA on next WSL domestic tender
Women’s Sports Group, the new body that aims to boost the profile and value of female sport, has today been appointed by the Football Association, English soccer's governing body, to consult on the domestic media rights sales process for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
The new rights cycle begins with the 2021-22 season, and the tender will encompass all FA-controlled women's club and national team fixtures.
Domestic WSL rights are held by BT Sport, the pay-TV broadcaster, and the BBC, the public-service broadcaster, which show over 30 live games across the season.
Women's Sports Group was launched last October by Dame Heather Rabbatts, who between 2012 and 2017 was the first female independent non-executive director and board member of the FA.
David Kogan, a respected media rights consultant and co-founder of Reel Enterprises, helped establish Women's Sports Group, and will lead the work with the FA, having advised on sports rights sales for the Premier League, English Football League, Premiership Rugby, Six Nations and the NFL.
Rabbatts said today: “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.”
Kelly Simmons, the FA's director of the Women's Professional Game, added: “Women’s Sports Group was created to drive even greater value in women’s sport and we feel they are in a perfect position to help us take The Barclays FA Women’s Super League to the next level.”
As well as media rights management, Women’s Sports Group said at launch that its core streams will be strategic communications counsel and partnership development.
Rabbatts is the chair of strategic communications agency Vero Communications, founded by her late husband Mike Lee.
The Women’s Sports Group will be closely aligned with Vero, which has more than 10 years of experience in the sports business, and is currently working on Australia’s bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The WSL's global broadcast rights are distributed by Pitch International, the UK-based sports marketing agency that won the contract in December after brokering three international deals covering 13 territories: Optus Sport, the subscription streaming platform in Australia; Nordic Entertainment Group, the Scandinavia-based media company, for Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark; and Sky Mexico, the pay-TV operator owned by commercial broadcaster Televisa, for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic.
The FA Player, which is a free streaming platform, was launched by the FA last August to provide additional coverage of the WSL from this season. WSL matches are geo-blocked in countries with broadcast rights deals in place.