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Sky Bets on Women's Sport

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News this week that Sky would show the Netball World Cup 2015 live on their major sports channels was widely celebrated, but not entirely unexpected. Over the last few months, Sky Sports has been changing shape, partly in anticipation for the forthcoming Premier League seasons but also because it had to. That shift is changing the way that Sky position Sky Sports, and it's largely coming from women's sports. It's an unusual move, and not one being replicated by other global TV brands, but it does point towards a brighter, more innovative future for the companies flagship series of channels.

This all began at the end of 2014, when Sky published the numbers of hours it dedicated to various sports across the Sky Sports channels. Whilst huge numbers like 10,912 hours of football, 6,282 hours of gold, 4,607 hours of cricket and 4,276 hours of F1 stood out, one number caught the nations eye, and not in a good way. Sky showed just 1,160 hours of what it called 'Women's sport', which includes every single sport women competed in over the year. That number is miniscule compared to the amount of male competitive sports, and drew ire from some critics, who saw it as a woefully small representation of the amount of sports women engage in. The BSkyB phone number was also besieged by customers who weren't happy with the status quo.

This year, however, Sky have redoubled their commitment in this new year, starting with the Netball World Cup. They'll be showing the competition's biggest moments live, including the semi-finals and the final itself. The channel also confirmed that they'd be showing the Solheim Cup, England Women's rugby and the Women's ashes, all of which promise to greatly increase the amount of women's sport on TV and ease pressure on the Sky information number at the same time.

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports said: “There’s never been a better time to be a netball fan with participation up and sell-out crowds at Superleague matches, so we’re delighted to add the World Cup to the Sky Sports schedule.

“We’re proud of our netball coverage and we can’t wait to follow the Home Nations teams at the World Cup later this year. The competition strengthens our commitment to women’s sport even further which this year alone includes the Solheim Cup, England Women’s rugby and for the first time every ball of the Women’s Ashes.”

The move is about more than just bumping up the numbers. With the cost of living going up and wages going nowhere, the need to justify every purchase is a real one, and being able to demonstrate that Sky Sports is for more than just the men of the household is crucial if Sky are to continue their strong subscriber numbers. It too indicates a change in attitude towards women's sports, as audiences begin to realise that the technical gap between the sexes is primarily a matter of training rather than physical attributes.

Comments (1 )

  1. Brandy - Reply    May 07 ,2016  

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