Football Federation Australia (FFA) has announced a new broadcast deal in partnership with Fox Sports and SBS, that for the first time will allow fans to watch every match of the upcoming W-League season LIVE.
The new deal will provide fans access to 30 more regular season matches than in previous seasons. Fox Sports has been under pressure to increase its commitment to female sports since receiving a $30 Million fund from the Federal Government.
The controversial government grant was designed to compensate the News-Corp owned, pay-tv broadcaster for agreeing to abide by new gambling advertisement restrictions. However the deal was sold to the public by the government as a way of boosting coverage of “underrepresented sports on subscription television, including women's sports, niche sports, and sports with a high level of community involvement and participation".
A spokesperson for the FFA confirmed to DeciderTV that production costs for W-League broadcasts would be split between Fox Sports, SBS and the FFA. But declined to confirm if the FFA was receiving any rights revenue from Fox Sports.
Under the new deal, 30 matches (14 stand-alone, 13 double headers, and 3 finals) will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports. 18 of these matches will be simulcast on SBS VICELAND.
Additionally, the remaining 27 matches from the regular season that are not broadcast on TV, will be available to live stream via www.foxsports.com.au and the My Football Live app which will be data free for Telstra customers.
The 2018/19 season will feature the introduction of Thursday Night Football, featuring 13 stand-alone regular season matches which will be played in prime-time, and broadcast live on Fox Sports and live streamed on the My Football Live app.
There will also be two Friday night prime-time broadcast regular season matches, one of which is a stand-alone Melbourne Derby in November (Fox Sports), and Perth Glory v Sydney FC in December (Fox Sports/SBS Viceland).
The SBS Viceland component of the deal includes 7 Friday evening matches and 5 Sunday afternoon matches during the regular season.
Season eleven of the W-League will kick-off with a Sydney Derby on Thursday 25 October, with the Grand Final scheduled for the weekend of 16-17 February 2019.