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Sky and BBC officially extend WSL broadcast rights for 2024-25 season

This short-term deal reportedly a step with view of longer extension

UK pay-television giant Sky and public-service broadcaster the BBC have confirmed one-year extensions to their domestic rights with English soccer’s top-tier Women’s Super League (WSL) for the 2024-25 season. The broadcasters' current deals were due to expire at the end of the ongoing 2023-24 campaign.

As part of this renewed deal, Sky will continue to show up to 44 WSL matches next season. On the other hand, BBC will broadcast 22 live matches again in the forthcoming season. All these matches will be available on BBC iPlayer streaming service, with a minimum of 18 live games across linear channels - BBC One and Two.

In addition to live matchday coverage, regular highlights will continue on The Women's Football Show and across the BBC Sport Website and app. Goals and clips from these games will also be available on BBC Sport's social media channels. Furthermore, selected games will feature commentary from BBC Radio 5 Live.

Record audiences for WSL coverage prompted a short-term solution

This move is reportedly a short-term solution that allows league organizers and broadcasters more time to arrange longer-term deals from the start of the 2025-26 season onwards.

Jonathan Licht, Sky Sports managing director, said:

“It's a hugely exciting time for women's football in this country. Audiences have increased hugely over recent years and we're proud of our contribution to the growth of the game and women's sport more broadly, showing 70% of all live action last year on our channels.”

The current three-season WSL matches domestic rights cycle began ahead of the 2021-22 campaign when both Sky and BBC struck deals that had a combined total value exceeding $11 million per season as estimated by GlobalData (Sportcal).

Both broadcasters have secured record audiences for their WSL coverage this season. For instance, over a million peak viewers watched Chelsea’s impressive win over Liverpool in November via various platforms provided by both broadcasters.

Sky attracted an average audience of nearly half-a-million during last month's clash Manchester City vs Manchester United – another testament to growing interest in women's football.

New Governance structure to change dynamics for new deals

The WSL has also seen record-breaking attendance figures this season, with over 700,000 fans attending matches so far. This surpasses the previous record of 689,297 set in the 2022-23 season.

In November, all clubs across the WSL and second-tier Women’s Championship agreed to create a new club-owned structure to run these leagues from 2024-25 onwards. The Football Association (FA) has managed the WSL since its inception but announced in 2018 that it did not intend to continue doing so long-term. 

This new entity, tentatively titled "NewCo," will take control of both divisions. Each club in these top two tiers will become a shareholder. Former Nike executive and investment banker Nikki Doucet has been appointed as NewCo's first chief executive. Once NewCo is fully operational and managing the top two leagues, it is expected that a more long-term and lucrative domestic broadcast deal can be negotiated.

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