ALEX SCOTT has hailed the landmark megabucks WSL TV deal as an “emotional day for women’s football”.
The English top-flight has landed the biggest broadcasting deal in women’s football history after securing an agreement with Sky Sports and the BBC.
SunSport understands the three-year deal is worth close to £20million in total.
For the first time ever Sky Sports will broadcast the WSL, and the BBC has also pledged to showcase 22 live games with a minimum of 18 on mainstream channels, BBC One and Two.
Arsenal and England legend Scott said: “This is a landmark deal for the women’s game. Not just for the WSL – but the whole of the women’s game.
“So many women have fought incredibly hard to get the game to be professional, so for the league to have now landed a multi-million pound broadcasting deal is an emotional day for our sport.
“Young girls are going to be inspired to become the next Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze or Jordan Nobbs and I couldn’t be happier.”
This is the first time that the rights to the WSL have been sold separately from the men’s game, with clubs in the league receiving a chunk of the revenue.
Part of the cash will also be distributed to clubs in the Championship to aid their development, as well as the standard of refereeing and pitches.
Scott added: “I remember Hope Powell fought for us to get professional contracts at England and for the WSL to be introduced as a full-time, pro league.
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“So this landmark TV deal like this gives back to incredible women like Hope, who have battled day in day out for the growth of the women’s game.
“It’s really going to help us grow and engage our fan bases across the country, from young girls in London council estates like I was, all the way up to the very tip of England.
“It will also bring in vital revenue into our league, the clubs and the grassroots football pyramid at the beating heart of the beautiful game.
“Most importantly, it’s providing a fantastic platform to inspire girls and women to play the sport which is something I feel very passionate about.”
Sky has the right to show up to 44 matches, with a minimum of 35 being screened across Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Football.
Some matches will also be shown simultaneously on Sky Sports Mix and Sky One, as part of the deal which runs from next season until the summer of 2024.
Kelly Simmons The FA’s Director of the Women’s Professional Game said: “When we look at the benchmarks around audiences, it will without a doubt take us to be the most watched women’s sports league in the world, which is hugely exciting.
“We have benchmarks for what we think are the most successful, high-profile women’s sport leagues in the world like the WNBA and the NWSL,
“And they are in the low hundreds of thousands in terms of an average peak per week.
“We anticipate that this would significantly be above that in terms of the partnerships we have with Sky and the BBC and the slots we have got.
“It is one of the biggest deals commercially and definitely for women’s football in terms of a domestic deal and up there for women’s sport.
“In terms of the audience’s piece, the biggest in women’s sport, definitely.”