FOX Sports and Basketball Australia have entered a three-year partnership that will put the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) back on national television.
The deal will come to fruition in time for the 2017-18 season, and will see Fox Sports broadcast a minimum of one game per week, as well as every Finals game, through to the 2019-20 season.
The new-look competition will run over 16 weeks, from October to January, which includes the best-of-three semi-finals and Grand Final series.
The January conclusion of the season will be one month earlier than the previous season, allowing athletes more time to search for complementary contracts abroad.
Fox Sports and Basketball Australia will work over the coming months to finalise the scheduling of the weekly broadcast.
“The WNBL is the longest running elite female competition in the country,” Fox Sports CEO, Patrick Delany, said.
“It features incredible athletes, who are strong and fierce competitors. For too long the league has been invisible with no broadcast partner.
“Today’s announcement will ensure that fans around the country will be able to watch these athletes live in action.
“This isn’t just another broadcast deal; it’s a partnership. We are invested in making a difference, and putting women’s basketball in Australia back on the map.”
The WNBL was without a broadcast partner for the 2014-15 season, but now has the opportunity to regain its visibility, looking set to join the AFLW and WBBL as women’s sporting leagues that have flourished recently, thanks to their increased television coverage.
As part of the new deal, Fox Sports will work with Basketball Australia to develop and implement a strategy to increase the visibility and sustainability of the WNBL.
Among the initiatives that will be focused on are: developing commercial models and sponsorship packages, marketing and publicity support, helping the league build community initiatives, and growing crowd attendance and club memberships.
“It’s a great day for the WNBL and we are thrilled to be entering into this partnership with Fox Sports,” Head of the WNBL, Sally Phillips, said.
“As someone who has been involved with the WNBL as a player and administrator over the past 27 years, this announcement is truly amazing. I love this game and I am so excited that our Clubs and our Athletes will be back in the spotlight receiving the recognition and respect they deserve.
“The WNBL is globally elite and a broadcast partnership provides us with a vital perception piece and communication platform for our sport that has been missing over the past two seasons. I’m so happy for our fans that have missed tuning in each week, we’re back!”
The league will feature some of Australia’s best and brightest, from four-time WNBL MVP, Suzy Batkovic, to recent WNBA draftee, Tahlia Tupaea.
“We are truly grateful for the huge leap of faith Fox Sports have taken in partnering with the WNBL for the next three years,” Phillips said.
“The biggest names in Australian basketball are signing on to play in the upcoming season so fans will be exposed to what is recognised as some of the best women’s basketball in the world.
“There is no better time than now for Corporate Australia to capitalise on the support being shown for women’s sport and take a leap like Fox Sports have and get behind the WNBL.”
Article: Fox Sports Australia