In a big win for women in sport, Fox Sports and Network Ten have announced today they will broadcast the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney.
Following a year of cuts to the broadcasting of women in sport and disappointing distractions from the achievements of Australian sportswomen, the Netball World Cup will be broadcast in full on Fox Sports, with all Australian games available on free to air television thanks to channel ten.
The Australian netball team, the Diamonds, are the defending world champions after three consecutive World Cup wins. If they win again in 2015, it will be their first victory on home turf. The last time Australia hosted the world cup was in 1990.
Netball World Cup CEO Marne Fechner told Women’s Agenda the return of netball to free to air television is significant because it allows all Australian netball fans to watch their favourite female athletes and role models compete.
Fechner added the decision to broadcast netball’s biggest international event is hugely significant for women’s sport more broadly.
“Women’s sport has traditionally struggled to find a place in mainstream broadcasting, but the partnership we’ve established puts netball in a brilliant position,” she said.
“Netball and a number of other women’s sports have always found broadcast negotiations challenging. We live in a sports-mad country and so there is a lot on offer and a lot of competition, but now netball has been able to find a foothold.”
She said the broadcasting of events like the world cup is also important because it allows the athletes to receive recognition for their achievements.
“The truth is, we have some of the best female athletes in the world here in Australia. They perform just as well as our men. It is great to see athletes in sports like netball being properly recognised,” she said.
Fechner said she thinks recognition of women’s sport is steadily increasing.
“Over the last five years, women’s sport has done a fantastic job of rising to the challenge and making sure they are put in the limelight,” she told Women’s Agenda.
Ten’s Head of Sport David Barham said it is important the sport gets full coverage on free-to-air television as well as on cable networks: “We are delighted to have secured the Netball World Cup in 2015 to ensure that Australian fans can watch all the action on free-to-air television.
“This deal further demonstrates Network Ten’s commitment to live sport. The Diamonds are the defending World Champions and have had a fantastic year against some tough competition. The Netball World Cup will make for great television viewing,” he said.
The Netball World Cup will begin on August 7, 2015 and run for ten days.
“We are really excited about what will happen next year. This is a fantastic way to recognise what these girls do, their commitment and their skill,” Fechner said.