Women’s sport weekly wrap: Channel 7 to broadcast Women’s Rugby League World Cup

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    It’s been a week of firsts this week in women’s sport.

    This morning it was announced by the Rugby League World Cup 2017 organising committee that for the first time in the history of the Women’s Rugby League World, Cup Channel Seven will broadcast all 12 matches of the tournament on free-to-air television and stream all 12 games live too.

    That means you will have the opportunity to watch women play rugby league live wherever you are in Australia.

    For our friends across the Tasman, Sky Sport has also secured the rights to the broadcast.

    This Rugby League World Cup is groundbreaking for so many reasons. It is the first time that the women’s world cup will be held as a stand-alone event, and it will also be the first time that both the men’s and women’s finals will be played on the same day in a doubleheader at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

    If you are in Sydney and love your rugby league, though you may be disappointed that none of the men’s matches will be played in Sydney, the women’s world cup is an excellent opportunity for you to support women’s rugby league. All of the women’s matches except for the final will be held at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Cronulla as triple-headers on 16, 19 and 22 November with the semi-final to be played as a double-header on 26 November.

    The six teams that will be contesting the women’s world cup later this year are Australia, Canada, the Cook Islands, England, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with Australia being the reigning champions.

    One of my favourite sayings is ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, and that’s why in the women’s sport space broadcast is absolutely crucial.

    Growing up as a rugby league fan in the late 1990s, it never once crossed my mind to ask my dad where the women playing rugby league were, why I wasn’t able to play rugby league at school or why the sport that I grew up loving featured so many men in positions of authority and influence.

    Without visible female role models I didn’t think outside the box. I think I made the assumption growing up that rugby league was a game for the boys, and instead of asking more questions I was happy watching my team take the field each week without thinking about the bigger picture – which of course involved women.

    The next generation of young women will not have this problem. With women like Ruan Sims, Allana Ferguson, Maddie Studdon and Kezie Apps now being given the opportunity to play and be featured on television, no little girl will ever need to ask where the women playing rugby league are.

    (Image: Narelle Spangher, RLWC2017)

    I want to introduce all of you to Eleni Glouftis, who this weekend will become the AFL’s first ever female field umpire in the game between the Essendon Bombers and West Coast Eagles.

    While everyone is talking about this monumental moment for Eleni, breaking new ground is something this young woman from South Australia is very used to.

    In 2013 Eleni was the first female umpire for a SANFL match. She continued to officiate in this space, and by 2014 she had 15 umpiring appearances and was then the recipient of a three-year scholarship to train with the VFL and AFL

    It was in 2016 as an ‘AFL pathway’ umpire that Eleni was named as the first female field umpire to be in charge of an AFL match at any level when she umpired a Carlton and Essendon pre-season game.

    Over time her skill level and confidence have steadily increased.

    In the opening weeks of the 2017 competition Eleni has been an emergency field umpire, but she will now take the field and make history on the weekend.

    This has been an exceptional year for diversity in AFL. It began with the inaugural season of the AFLW, which introduced Australia to our next generation of AFL stars, including Sarah Perkins, Moana Hope, Jess dal Pos and Erin Phillips.

    New ground was broken in relation to female leadership in the AFL in May when it was announced that Hawthorn had appointed the AFL’s first ever female chief executive, former Olympic cyclist Tracey Gaudry.

    And now we have our first female field umpire.

    With increasing numbers of women involved in executive roles across the AFL, the AFLW set for expansion in 2019 and now another barrier being broken down when it comes to women in umpiring, soon the media will no longer need to draw attention to the fact that these women are female – their gender will be a side note to the tremendous talent, professionalism and drive that they bring to their chosen space.

    Finally, while Australian women competing in the UFC is not a first, I also want to introduce you all to Nadia Kassem, who is Australia’s newest UFC fighter.

    Nadia is 21 years old and will make her debut in the Octagon at UFC Auckland on 11 June.

    Nadia is from Wentworthville and has been fighting for two years. She is undefeated in the four professional fights she has competed in and her competition in June will be American strawweight JJ Aldrich.

    Despite being a sport that has never particularly captured my attention, UFC has come a long way since 2011 when UFC president Dana White declared that there would ‘never’ be female fighters.

    Undoubtedly Nadia is following in the footsteps of other talented female fighters like Ronda Rousey. Perhaps it’s time I started tuning in to watch these fierce, aggressive and talented women.

    Mary Konstantopoulos
    Mary Konstantopoulos

    Mary Konstantopoulos is a lawyer, sports advocate and proud owner and founder of the Ladies Who empire, including Ladies who League, Ladies who Legspin, Ladies who Lineout and Ladies who Leap. You can find her podcast on iTunes and find her on Twitter @mary__kaye and @ladieswholeague.

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    The Crowd Says (43)

    • May 18th 2017 @ 8:33am
      jamesb said | May 18th 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      A few points….

      Great news with regarding the women’s world cup. Channel seven is leading the way with broadcasting women’s sport. They did it with the AFLW, and now the women’s RL WC. ABC also does a good job, but Seven is catching up. Meanwhile Nine shows the Jillaroos test delayed and after the men’s. So much for being “home of rugby league”.

      Congrats to Eleni Glouftis for becoming the first ever female field umpire. It’s not the first time a person with Greek heritage has pioneered something.

      With UFC, I can’t stand it. I just don’t like seeing women getting punched or kicked to the head. Actually, I don’t like UFC at all.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 18th 2017 @ 11:18am
        josh said | May 18th 2017 @ 11:18am | ! Report

        Ch9. continue to make odd broadcast decisions.

        Why the Jillaroo’s games wasn’t shown live is odd. Given the AFLW example, its not like there isn’t an appetite for it.

        • May 18th 2017 @ 11:30am
          no one in particular said | May 18th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          Actual veiwer numbers of AFLW and WBBL don’t match the hype

          • May 18th 2017 @ 1:58pm
            Nanco said | May 18th 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

            AFLW numbers were huge early but of course tapered off. Its not Channel Nine sfault the Jillaroos wasn’t shown live – the NRL didn’t put it in the rights deal!!!

            • Columnist

              May 18th 2017 @ 2:10pm
              Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 18th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

              But Channel 9 had a choice and chose to play it delayed, despite there being Friends reruns on Gem.

          • Columnist

            May 18th 2017 @ 2:09pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 18th 2017 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

            Why does that matter?

            • May 18th 2017 @ 5:05pm
              no one in particular said | May 18th 2017 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

              It matters because it is an advertiser supported business.

              • May 18th 2017 @ 6:07pm
                Justin Kearney said | May 18th 2017 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

                Thats right nanco and if 9 had showed any nous they would have promoted the game and got some big ratings. How hard is it?

              • Columnist

                May 19th 2017 @ 8:03am
                Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

                I completely get that – but the joy and energy and support around the women’s AFL was more than I had ever seen in relation to any women’s sport ever before. So what if the ‘numbers’ didn’t match that hype?

                Advertisers look for more than just eyeballs on a screen – it’s reflective in the number of companies that jumped on AFLW without any interest at all in sponsoring the men’s game…

        • Columnist

          May 18th 2017 @ 2:09pm
          Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 18th 2017 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

          Josh, the reasoning is because 9 think they will get more eyeballs after the Kangaroos game… (i.e. people will stay on to watch).

          I think it’s ridiculous and am really glad to see Channel 7 take the lead in this space.

        • May 18th 2017 @ 4:18pm
          Alex L said | May 18th 2017 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

          Who the heck is watching TV at 5PM on Friday (when the Jillaroos game was on) besides the unemployed and uni students?

          • Columnist

            May 18th 2017 @ 4:40pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 18th 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

            The game started at 5.30 – the same argument could be posed about the 6pm game on Friday nights.

            • May 18th 2017 @ 4:50pm
              Justin Kearney said | May 18th 2017 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

              My thoughts exactly mary!

            • May 18th 2017 @ 5:33pm
              Alex L said | May 18th 2017 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

              Mary, I think we both know that the 6pm game on Friday nights is pretty low on the totem pole in terms of value for broadcasters and only exists because the NRL needs to put out 8 games per week and the Monday night game was causing problems with scheduling and the RLPA.

              It’s also worth considering that channel nine won’t want to run any programming that would compete with the 6pm news.

              • May 18th 2017 @ 5:42pm
                Justin Kearney said | May 18th 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                Hi alex. I think we both know channel 9 has gem it could have shown this game on. And the nrl 6pm game rates its ass off bro!

              • May 18th 2017 @ 6:40pm
                Alex L said | May 18th 2017 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

                Justin; they have GEM, but like I said they don’t want to run against the 6pm news (the highest rated program on television).

                The 6pm game also doesn’t do well for Fox relative to other games according to ASTRA ratings, and you’ve got to wonder how many of the people who are counted as watching it show up half way through if not near the end — if Fox thought it was a strong timeslot they’d have pushed for it some time ago.

              • May 18th 2017 @ 6:53pm
                Justin Kearney said | May 18th 2017 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

                Well alex you obviously know nothing about ratings mate and how they are calculated. And sorry but the friday games have been a huge success for fox. And why on earth nine wouldn’t want to maximise its overall ratings for one night given the potential benefits for its number one sport defies logic. Add to that the kudos of promoting womens sport as well. Sadly its attitudes like yours that holds league back.

              • May 18th 2017 @ 7:09pm
                no one in particular said | May 18th 2017 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

                Viewers for 6pm Friday games are down 17% on the game it replaced (MNF). By that measure it hasn’t been a success. It is the main reason numbers across FTA and Fox are down 8% on the season

              • May 18th 2017 @ 9:31pm
                Justin Kearney said | May 18th 2017 @ 9:31pm | ! Report

                Afl and nrl tv viewers are down because of other mediums. Last fridays nrl 6pm game outrated 10 other afl and nrl games on fox. Its numbers are very good and a lot of its audience is in pubs which, i believe dont count in the ratings. But back on topic. The womens test match should have been shown live. It wasnt for the simple reason channel 9 did not trust the product. Channel 7 wont be that stupid during the world cup.

              • May 19th 2017 @ 1:49am
                Alex L said | May 19th 2017 @ 1:49am | ! Report

                Justin; they trust the product enough to put it on at a time when people with jobs can actually watch it, I think that’s more trust than shoving it on as a prelude on a different channel to the main event of the evening.

                The friday 6pm game is one of the lowest rating games on Fox routinely — it does reasonably well occasionally, but it’s nowhere near as strong as the Saturday slots, along with the early game on Sunday it’s one of the weakest, Fox knows it — that’s why the 6PM Friday game was jettisoned along with the 2PM Sunday fixture during the ANZAC weekend where games were played on Tuesday.

              • May 19th 2017 @ 7:10am
                Justin Kearney said | May 19th 2017 @ 7:10am | ! Report

                Alex. The friday night game is usually in the top 5 rating pay tv shows weekly. It is played at 6pm to catch the pub crowd and increase pub subscriptions and also to steal the channel 9 audience in the following games. The ratings demonstrate that this strategy has been a huge success. Anyway back on topic, if channel nine had any nous it would have shown the womens test to a live audience at 530. It didnt. Thank goodness 7 have the rights to the world cup.

              • Columnist

                May 19th 2017 @ 8:04am
                Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

                Just as an FYI, the ratings do not include figures from pubs and clubs…

              • May 19th 2017 @ 8:17am
                Justin Kearney said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

                Yep that is my understanding mary. Which underlines the size of the potential audience the test match could have got if played in that timeslot. It was a lost opportunity to play this game at a time friendly to young girls who may consider playing league in the future. Playing the replay of the game so late was a dumb decision on multiple levels.

              • May 19th 2017 @ 9:50am
                Alex L said | May 19th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

                Justin, as I said according to the publicly available ASTRA ratings, it’s ending up in the bottom 4 NRL games most weeks; the pubs/clubs situation would also have an impact on the weekend games. The 6PM game also has the viewer numbers benefit of being right before the 8PM game with fairly minimal fluff; anecdotally a number of people on The Roar have said they tend to catch the last 20 minutes of that game before the next one.

                Ch7 showing the games live is irrelevant; they’re all in daytime hours (noon, 14:00, and 16:00 starts) — nine would probably be doing the same thing in this case, it makes no commercial sense to put them on delay.

              • May 19th 2017 @ 11:02am
                Justin Kearney said | May 19th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                Thanks for the lecture alex. I am fully aware of the ratings for friday night and you are wrong. And anecdotes are irrelevant. Ratings arent calculated using roar anecdotes. But continue on. You are amusing.

              • May 19th 2017 @ 12:40pm
                Alex L said | May 19th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                Provide some evidence that I’m wrong about the ratings then Donald.

              • May 19th 2017 @ 12:51pm
                Justin Kearney said | May 19th 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                Where’s yours?

              • May 19th 2017 @ 3:10pm
                Alex L said | May 19th 2017 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                I’ve said I’m using the ASTRA ratings reports — they’re available to the public so you can go google them yourself.

              • May 19th 2017 @ 4:24pm
                Justin Kearney said | May 19th 2017 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                You are going you have to do better than that lad. I want dates, quotes, references and data. You have 2 hours!

      • Columnist

        May 18th 2017 @ 2:08pm
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 18th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

        Jamesb – completely agree on point one. Even in terms of media personalities that cover the NRL on Channel 9 – where is the diversity?

        I’m not a massive UFC fan either, but I am very excited about the steps that the sport has taken in regard to diversity in the last couple of years and am really happy to see women continuing to get opportunities!

    • May 18th 2017 @ 8:55am
      Craigo said | May 18th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      Congratulation channel 7!! well done

    • May 18th 2017 @ 10:20am
      Cathar Treize said | May 18th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

      The last @jillaroos game attracted 300k + on Ch 9 for a delayed matched which kicked off at 10pm EST. A tremendous effort & you’d think Ch9 would have been on board for RLWC but alas. Well done Ch 7, I will be watching.

    • May 18th 2017 @ 10:50am
      Justin Kearney said | May 18th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

      Great work channel 7. Putting 9 to shame with its coverage of womens sport.

    • May 18th 2017 @ 11:13am
      Jimmmy said | May 18th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

      That’s great news Mary. I will certainly be watching.

    • May 18th 2017 @ 12:21pm
      Crosscoder said | May 18th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

      Thanks Mary.Channel 7 showing channel 9 how it should be done re rugby leaguer broadcasting.
      The Jillaroos leading the way,followed by the Sydney women’s rl comp(9s),shows rugby league is not standing still where it matters.

      The oft referred description of ch9 as the rugby league station,is one of the best comedy lines in sport.They couldn’t promote gelato in the Gulf States.

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