The new deal may not be as good for men's cricket with less broadcast on free to air, but the women's game has done well.
The new deal may not be as good for men's cricket with less broadcast on free to air, but the women's game has done well. DAVID MOIR

Women’s cricket laughing with free to air boost

FREE to air coverage is so important to the growth of a sport.

Women's cricket received another shot in the arm with the announcement of joint coverage from Fox Sports and Channel 7 from 2019.

It was less than a year ago when players locked horns with the game's management to secure themselves a greater cut of the sport's revenue.

Australian opening batter Nicole Bolton steps into a drive against England. Photo: Brad Greenshields/Coffs Coast Advocate
Australian opening batter Nicole Bolton steps into a drive against England. Photo: Brad Greenshields/Coffs Coast Advocate Brad Greenshields

From that fight the sport's best female players emerged as fully professional athletes. The knock on of that is better cricket in the women's game. A more competitive national side. Athletes completely dedicated to performing at their best, when they need to.

When the WBBL began three years ago, it gained such quick momentum off the back of people seeing the product on Channel 10.

In season two the network increased the number of games it broadcast live. From next year, that number will double and its impact will be huge.

People cannot support something without seeing what it is. What is starting to be understood in women's sport is that Australians are willing to get behind it once they're able to watch it, and follow it consistently

Sports like netball and AFL have free to air coverage and enjoy huge popularity among Australians.

Harmanpreet Kaur for Sydney Thunder during the Women's Big Bash League cricket match between The Sydney Thunder and the Melbourne Stars. Photo: AAP
Harmanpreet Kaur for Sydney Thunder during the Women's Big Bash League cricket match between The Sydney Thunder and the Melbourne Stars. Photo: AAP BRENDAN ESPOSITO

And while cricket had some free to air coverage before, this increase, with a full commitment to internationals, negotiated in contract for the six-year period, will help move cricket into that same space.

All internationals will be broadcast on Fox Sports and simulcast on Channel 7. In Big Bash, 23 matches receive the same treatment.

While the new deal may not be as good for men's cricket with less broadcast on free to air, in the women's game has done well.

More free coverage, more eyes on the game.

Those eyes will turn to the quality of coverage too - another likely win for women, on the other side of the camera.

Fox Sports has been a leader in having women as part of commentary teams and fronting their broadcasts. This signals an end to the 'male, pale and stale' teams Channel 9 have come under fire for in recent seasons.

Change is good and the timing of an image overhaul for cricket - internally and how we the product is delivered to the public - could not be better for the sport.



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