Birmingham City manager Carla Ward has hailed the new Women’s Super League broadcast deal as a “landmark moment” and hopes it can provide a boost for the club with the smallest budget in the league.
A new deal was announced by the Football Association on Monday for the WSL that will see matches shown on Sky Sports and on BBC One and Two over the next three seasons.
The PA news agency understands the investment from Sky Sports is just under £10million per season, including production, with additional marketing and exposure commitments taking the figure to around £15m per season.
“Huge. This is absolutely huge, it’s a landmark moment,” Ward said when asked about the new deal.
“We knew about it, we knew it was coming out but actually the excitement grew and I think even I found myself getting excited on the day when you actually read into it.
“This is massive, if you’re a young girl now growing up you’re going to get the clear visibility that you can go out there and be a professional footballer and it’s something that we didn’t have growing up.
“Unbelievable, good in terms of the growth and the development of the women’s game, so it’s exciting and certainly I can’t wait for it.”
Birmingham currently sit ninth in the WSL, and just three points above bottom-placed West Ham who occupy the only relegation place, but the manager believes the funding can make an impact on her club’s budget.
“I don’t know the actual figures I’ll be honest,” Ward said when asked how much of the new funding her club could receive.
“It’s no secret that we are categorically the smallest budget in the league by some way. So you would imagine any investment would help, any little investment would help to be honest.
“All I know is I’m asking for a whole lot more next year and hopefully we’ll get it.”
Tottenham Hotspur manager Rehanne Skinner also spoke about the importance of the funding ahead of her side’s north London derby clash with rivals Arsenal.
“I think the thing about the broadcast deal that is fantastic is that it’s going to increase the visibility of the game and that’s certainly something I’ve been invested in for over 20 years alongside a lot of people,” Skinner said.
“So that we’re getting to that point now is only going to keep developing the game, attracting attention to the game and that in turn will only have an impact on all of us as clubs and the way that the game is going to grow in the future.”