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How can we expose the hidden diamond that is the W-League?

Jess Fishlock of Melbourne City celebrates a goal during the Women's W-League final between the Perth Glory and Melbourne City FC at nib Stadium in Perth, on Sunday, Feb.12, 2017. (AAP Image/Tony McDonough)
Roar Guru
26th December, 2017
83

Marconi Stadium’s western grandstand was packed at the start of the month, because the Wanderers have a wonderful supporter base and Perth superstar Sam Kerr was playing!

It was a fun day out at an old school ground that gave the fans great exposure to the players, especially afterwards when a sea of fans, male and female, lined up to get a photo or autograph with Kerr. Wanderers keeper Jada Whyman and skipper Erica Holloway also proved popular.

Sadly, this fantastic occasion was not broadcast on TV.

So why isn’t FFA ensuring every single W-League game is broadcast? There is Foxtel, ABC, Ten, SBS or even YouTube or iFollow.

By scheduling W-League games before or even after A-League games, you increase the chances of these games being covered and minimise the cost to TV networks since the cameras are already there. There are plenty of fiscal reasons why this doesn’t happen – after all, no one is going to throw away money – but in the long term, by exposing the league you can get more fans and then more quality players, who will bring in more fans.

Melbourne Victory veteran Laura Spiranovic, who has been involved in the W-League for several years agrees.

“It provides an opportunity for viewers to connect with the W-League more often – familiarising themselves with the players and the teams, which hopefully encourages interest and in turn helps the game to grow,” says Spiranovic.

Melbourne City utility keeper and Galaxy United WNPL star Emily Kenshole also supports this view.

“All A-League games are broadcast on tv, so why shouldn’t the w-league?” says Kenshole.

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“Women’s football is continually growing so allowing the country to watch all games on tv is only going to benefit and enhance the women’s game more.”

If we look at other sports, how did the AFL become popular in Sydney? It didn’t happen overnight. They had live games on Channel Seven on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for years. They exposed their product and showed people how good it could be. When the Swans started being successful things clicked.

Same can go for women’s football. Our Matildas are hot right now! Why not promote the W-League on the back of that? The Sam Kerr factor is huge, yet how many people out there know where she is playing next weekend?

She played in Newcastle a few Saturdays ago, in what was a huge treat for the Novocastrian football community. The rest of us wouldn’t have minded watching her play either, but I personally didn’t fancy a three-hour trip to the Hunter. But I may have switched on the TV for a bit just to watch it.

That was a huge opportunity lost for the women’s game. The W-League is sadly still a hidden diamond!