Every Women’s Super League game to be streamed free on new FA OTT platform
The new streaming service, called The FA Player, will show more than 150 domestic women’s soccer matches throughout the season, including all top-flight WSL fixtures and one game from each round of the second-tier FA Women’s Championship.
The launch of the new platform will not affect the WSL’s existing domestic rights deals with pay-TV channel BT Sport and public service broadcaster the BBC, which will continue to televise over 30 live games during the 2019/20 season.
An official release said that the move is designed to ‘broaden access’ to women’s soccer ‘beyond traditional channels’ on a single platform for free.
As well as live games, The FA Player, which will go live ahead of the new WSL season, will house selected highlights from matches featuring the England national team, as well as the Women’s FA Cup and the FA Women’s Continental League Cup. There will also be archive footage and regular features on domestic women’s soccer and the Lionesses.
“This announcement is a pivotal and significant step in The FA’s journey to grow the women’s game and attract new audiences,” said Kelly Simmons, the FA’s Director of the Women’s Professional Game.
“We know people want to watch football in different ways, with content that’s quickly and easily accessible. This new live streaming service will give them unique access to over 150 live fixtures in all competitions, all available at the click of a button.
“This will help build on the fantastic coverage BBC and BT Sport give the women’s game on their channels so that fans can enjoy the best of women’s football when and how they wish.”
The move comes after record interest in England’s Lionesses during this summer’s Fifa Women’s World Cup. The national team’s 2-0 semi-final defeat to the US women’s national team (USWNT) drew a peak audience of 11.7 million on the BBC, making it the UK’s most watched television programme of 2019 so far.
The 2019/20 WSL season will also see banking group Barclays title sponsor the competition for the first time as part of its three-year, UK£10 million deal with the FA.
In addition, the opening weekend of the upcoming WSL campaign will see a number of games take place at men’s teams’ stadiums. Manchester City and rivals Manchester United will kick off the season at the Etihad Stadium on 7th September, while Chelsea will host Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge a day later.
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