On the Deal
With the landmark agreement between the BBC, Sky Sports and The FA announced this past week, fans of the game now will have more access to live women’s soccer than what was previously available. The agreement is for three years and will start in the 2021-22 season.
The deal, a multi-million-pound agreement, will lead to up to 44 fixtures (minimum of 35) shown across various platforms, including Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Football. Multiple games also will be aired on Sky Sports Mix and Sky One.
On BBC and its partnering networks, a total of 22 live games will be broadcast per season, with a minimum of 18 matches on accessible, free-to-air channels, including BBC One and BBC Two. Both agreements with the two outlets are set to extend through the summer of 2024.
Matches not selected for broadcast will continue to be shown on the league’s streaming service: The FA Player.
On Manager Willie Kirk’s Thoughts
When talking with Everton media last Friday, Kirk commented on how he believes the deal could “transform” the women’s game.
“This partnership is a landmark moment for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, with more visibility than ever before, and the agreement beginning just a year before the 2022 UEFA Women’s European Championships are due to be hosted in England,” he said.
“It’s huge for our game,” he added. “History tells us how big it could be. When Sky Sports started showing the men’s Premier League all those years ago, I don’t think anyone really understood the magnitude of it and how it would transform the league. I think this can have that effect on the WSL.”
“We’re not the best league in the world yet but we’re making progress towards that – and I think this TV deal can make sure it is the best in the world within a couple of years,” he said And while Kirk postulated about the impact the deal would have on the league moving forward, the partnership also will be instrumental in Everton’s future recruitment.
On Attracting New Players
“Clubs can be very clever with sponsorship and commercial opportunities,” he said. “We know the extra exposure the game is going to get. Even in the early discussions I have had with some players [Everton are interested in signing] – they are excited about the broadcast deal and it has whetted the appetite for a number of European-based players.”
This brings us to areas of need for the Blues’ boss heading into this summer:
Right Back: perhaps the thinnest position at the club, Ingrid Moe Wold is the only true right back on the roster. When she missed two games with a leg ailment, Hayley Raso, a natural winger, played out of position on the right side of the defense. And while she has missed only a handful of games this season, Wold, who has been capped 74 for Norway, is 31 years old. Reinforcements at right back are the primary need.
Defensive Midfield: When Everton lost Damaris Egurrola to Olympique Lyonnais during the winter transfer window, they opted for a loan deal, bringing Jill Scott back to the club through the end of the season. It is unclear what Scott, 33, intends to do following the conclusion of the season, but an additional CDM to compete with Abbey-Leigh Stringer and Maéva Clemaron would provide cover should an injury occur to the defensive unit.
Forward: If Everton make Alisha Lehmann’s loan signing permanent, there won’t be a need to look for another striker. Lehmann can lead the attack or cut in from the wing, so permanently acquiring her services would strengthen the forward corps.