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WSL viewing pay-tv viewing figures announced

Viewership figure for coverage of the Women’s Super League (WSL) have been released and are “better than expected” according to Gary Hughes, Sky Sports’ director of football.

Last year, the Football Association (FA), agreed a three-year broadcast partnership with Sky and public service broadcaster the BBC. The deal is reportedly worth £8 million a year, a record for a domestic women’s league.

Speaking on day one of SportsPro Live, Hughes revealed that Sky’s WSL coverage is averaging 125,000 viewers per game, which he said is up 170 per cent compared to the competition’s pay-TV audience for the 2020/21 season, when the league was broadcast domestically by BT Sport.

Hughes also pointed out that Sky’s WSL broadcasts have a cumulative audience reach of six million and peaked for a game between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, when around 550,000 people tuned in for the match.

Sky, which has the right to show up to 44 matches per season, has given WSL games their own kick-off slots on the channel and Hughes said the broadcaster has benefitted from airing fixtures on Sunday evenings immediately after the network’s flagship Super Sunday coverage of two live Premier League games.

“What we always set out to do was position the WSL alongside our other leading rights, including the Premier League,” Hughes said.

“I think we’ve come across an evening kick-off [time] on a Sunday evening that inherits the audience of Super Sunday, which is huge. So you’re taking a big Sky Sports football audience into the women’s game. With ten WSL clubs this season being Premier League clubs as well, it means that the audience does carry over.

“Audience figures have been really good but our intention is to continue to try to grow the game.”

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