Broadcasters urged not to water down coverage of women’s sport

Broadcasters have a key role to play in elevating women’s sport and ensuring it is taken as seriously as men’s competition, the boss of Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League has said.

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Anthony Everard told a conference that unless TV networks cover women’s competitions in the same in-depth way they do men, women’s sport could be held back.

He praised Channel Ten for its coverage of the first Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) last summer, insisting it was on a par with the more established men’s version of the game.

Speaking at the Mumbrella Sports Marketing Summit, Everard said Ten’s coverage was “a case of show verses tell” in relation to women’s sport.

“What you have heard today is a lot of theory behind the sound business decisions and strategy [to raise the profile of women’s sport]. But what Channel Ten did for us was bring an authenticity to the theory, they brought it to life,” Everard told delegates.

“Basically it was hard to differentiate between the men’s and women’s competitions. There were similar commentators and the same number of cameras and that sent a pretty strong message.

“It was presented in a very similar way to the men’s competition and straight away it elevates it. Conversely, if you water it down what message is that sending?”

Everard put the success of the men’s competition partly down to the launch of the WBBL two weeks earlier.

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“There’s no doubt….the noise and share of voice that was created around the women’s comp had a direct flow on effect for the men’s competition a couple of weeks later,” he said.

Ten has described its foray into women’s Big Bash cricket as “extremely successful” with the network set to increase its number of live game from 10 to 12 for the season starting in December.

Everard said the teams themselves were playing a pivotal role in ensuring the men and women’s games were treated the same.

“Clubs have applied the mandate of ‘one club two teams’. They don’t see them any differently,” he said. “So the club is the Melbourne Stars or the Sydney Sixers with two teams. When you see all the marketing material that will come out over the next couple of months it’s going to be male players and female players on a level playing field.”

Despite the success, and the news that Cricket Australia is close to unveiling a naming rights sponsor for the WBBL, Everard told Mumbrella that securing interest from brands around the WBBL has been “hard work”.


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