Goal! Women’s football wins TV deal

Winning: The TV deal will give £8m a season to the Women’s Super League. © Getty

Will it ever be as popular as men’s? The BBC and Sky will show women’s games for the first time. Fans think the change will help the world realise how good women’s football really is.

What’s happening

Two minutes left in the game, and Arsenal and Manchester City were drawing 0-0. Mitchell took the ball and booted it into the top left corner. Goal! Arsenal had won!

But the only fans who knew were at the stadium or watching online. Because this was the Women’s Super League. It was not on TV.

Find out more

This will soon change. The BBC and Sky have just announced they will play Women’s Super League (WSL) games for the next season.

It is the biggest broadcasting deal ever made for women’s football. FA officials hope it will boost audience numbers for the game.

There will also be more money. The league will get £8m per season. Some of this will go to clubs to spend on coaches and train referees. And clubs will be able to fix up old pitches.

Former Arsenal player Alex Scott says the deal “will inspire girls and women to play the sport”.

But some people worry that it is not enough. In 2018, 1.1 billion fans watched the men’s world cup final. Only 82 million watched the women’s game a year later.

Will it ever be as popular as men’s football?

Some say…

Probably not. Men’s football has been around for much longer. This means teams have much more money. They already have millions of fans who have followed them for years. People pay hundreds of pounds to watch them play. Putting women’s games on TV might make them more popular. But they can never really compete with the men.

Others think…

Of course! Women’s football is only unpopular because people have no chance to watch it. Showing games on TV is an opportunity to show how good the sport is. Women’s football is more exciting. They score more goals. They commit fewer fouls. And they have just as much skill. It is only a matter of time before they are just as popular.

You Decide

  1. Tennis has mixed doubles so men and women can play together. Should football have mixed teams?

Activities

  1. Create a cartoon strip about a girl who dreams of playing for England and achieves her goal.

Some People Say...

“My coach said I run like a girl, and I said if he ran a little faster he could, too.”

Mia Hamm (1972 – ), US footballer and double Olympic gold medallist

What do you think?

Word Watch

Women’s Super League
Known as the WSL, it is the highest league in women’s football in England. It was set up in 2010 and has 12 professional teams.
Biggest
The BBC and Sky have paid millions of pounds for the deal, which will go towards supporting players and clubs in the league.
Broadcasting
To broadcast is to send out by radio or television. Sky and the BBC are broadcasters. They have paid the FA money to show their games on their programmes.
FA
The Football Association is the governing body of football in England and the Channel Islands. It was founded in 1863.
Audience
A group of people that watches or listens. The audience numbers for WSL are low because the games are not shown on mainstream TV channels.
Referees
A sports official who makes sure the players follow the rules of the game. It costs money to create training programmes for people who want to become referees.
Alex Scott
She played right-back for Arsenal and made 140 appearances for the England team. She now works as a television presenter and commentator.

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