Hope Powell believes the landmark WSL TV deal will serve as a huge boost to the accessibility and inclusivity of women’s football.
Sky Sports will be showing 44 Barclays FA WSL matches from the beginning of the 2021/22 campaign, while the BBC will be showing 22 games – with all unaired ties still being available on the FA Player.
And former England boss Powell believes the new deal can be a “watershed moment” for the women’s game, with more fans able to tune in to watch their favourite players – including Powell’s own mother.
“Showing the game on BBC and Sky gives an opportunity for more people to watch the game and inspire young girls to be professional,” Powell said.
“Not everybody has Sky, my mum certainly doesn’t have it, so she is absolutely excited because she’s a big fan.
“It’s a real watershed moment for women’s football, it shows how the product itself is valued more and more.
The fact is that a deal of this nature – not only the best that this country has ever seen but probably the best in the world in terms of women’s football – is a fantastic opportunity to grow the game and a fantastic platform to showcase the sport, and a real incentive for the game to grow and be better than it is already.
The increased broadcast of the Barclays FA WSL will also mean increased revenue for all areas of the women’s game, with a proportion of the new deal being used for central investments, including the support and development of refereeing.
Top tier clubs will then receive a 75% share of the rest of the funds, while FA Women’s Championship clubs will be claiming a 25% cut.
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And as a massive advocate of grassroots football, Powell is adamant that the new deal will help the sport thrive in England well into the future, although it shouldn’t deter fans from seeing their team in person when they are able to do so.
“It’s a fantastic deal over a three-year period, with some of that money fed through the WSL and the Championship which is fantastic,” she said.
“Sometimes fans can’t always get to games so it’s a good opportunity to still engage with the clubs that they support and still watch those stars that they like to watch.
“I must say though, I think we still need to really encourage people to come out physically and support the women’s game.
“I think it’s really important that the whole of the game is showcased – the top as well as the bottom – I think that’s really important for the growth of the game.”
On the pitch, Brighton were left to recover after their four-game winning run came to an end at the weekend, as the Seagulls went down 5-0 to Everton in Crawley.
Australian star Hayley Raso stole the show with a hat-trick for the Toffees, as Brighton’s recent good run of form – which included a win over table-toppers Chelsea – came to a grinding halt.
But despite that setback Powell is keen to keep her side pushing to finish as high as they can in the table, as they currently sit sixth with four matches remaining.
“We want to keep performing and keep competing with those teams – not only in and around us but those teams above us,” she said.
“The next few games will be tough, but the good thing now is that we’re starting to challenge ourselves.
“You relish the opportunity to go again and we relish every game that’s ahead of us, it gives us an opportunity for us to test ourselves and to try and climb the table even further.”