Kelly Simmons forecasts ‘most significant season’ for Women’s Super League

Kelly Simmons forecasts ‘most significant season’ for Women’s Super League
The game has renewed impetus because of a three-year TV deal with Sky and the BBC.

Kelly Simmons believes the Women’s Super League is ready for its “most significant season” thanks to impetus form the new TV deal.

The WSL’s three-year TV deal with Hemel en die BBC will see matches broadcast every weekend, met 18 games on BBC1 and BBC2.

Simmons has predicted a major milestone season for the WSL, with the FA’s women’s professional game director expecting a big boost in viewing figures.

Manchester United will host Reading on Friday to open the new campaign, with the match live on Sky Sports as the new TV rights packages come to fruition.

Asked if the first campaign under the new TV deal is the single biggest chance to accelerate professionalism in the women’s game, Simmons said: “I think it does, absolutely, and I think that’s for two reasons, the main one is the new partnership with Sky and BBC and the potential audiences and profile that can deliver.

“It feels like such a huge breakthrough for the women’s domestic game, to have those slots, three live games a weekend.

“And of course with fans coming back as well, our opportunity to continue to grow attendances, which is really important alongside building our audiences.

“So it feels like a really special and significant season for the women’s game, and really helping to break through into that regular, frequent profile and coverage we’ve been working towards.

“This is our most significant season ahead, because of the broadcast deal.

“We will have a minimum of 57 live games between Sky and BBC, ons weet 18 van die 22 on BBC will be on BBC1 and BBC2.

“Particularly when you look at the BBC1 slot on Saturday, that’s a huge opportunity for us, as well as the investment Sky are making and the production quality and investment in marketing.

“We should see record audiences over the next few weeks.”

Increased TV coverage has helped propel stars like Chelsea boss Emma Hayes to widespread acclaim for compelling punditry across both men’s and women’s football.

With former Arsenal and England star Alex Scott hosting the BBC’s Football Focus and Karen Carney a regular on TV and radio, the FA’s director of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell hailed those stars blazing a trail for others to follow.

“I think people like Emma and Alex have done a great deal for the women’s game, Emma as a coach in the first place with the work she’s done at Chelsea,” said Campbell.

“But also it’s the whole business of credibility, the women’s game is different but it does know what it’s talking about.

“And I think it’s that credibility that comes across, that when they are working on the men’s game they’re not out of their depth.

“But equally the women’s game does have some nuances and differences.

“And I think they are very good at moving from one game to the other and establishing how credible we are in the women’s game.

“I think the women’s game is evolving at an incredible rate, and the Super League is just making it more credible as it goes from strength to strength.

“I think Emma, Alex, Sue, all of them have done a super job for the women’s game, a super job.

“Being able to comment on men’s sport and do it credibly and do it well and show that you know and understand the game, technically, tactically, wat gaan aan, I do think it’s been of value.

“Because it’s eyes on the game, and eyes on it in a different way.

“We’d sooner they are watching the matches, but if they’re not watching the matches at least they are hearing someone like Emma who sounds incredibly credible.

“Then maybe people think ‘maybe I’ll go and watch Chelsea Women’, and if it brings eyes and people to the game, then we are happy with that.”

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