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Women’s soccer scoring ‘big bucks’ in broadcasting rights

Women’s soccer World Cup 2019 has scored a new viewership record, attracting a total of one billion viewers worldwide. It is estimated that 14 million viewers tuned in to the women’s soccer finals, surpassing the viewership of most basketball or baseball league finals.

The success is leading to an increase in commercial appeal of women soccer, as England’s Football Association (FA) is set to sell domestic broadcasting rights of women’s game independently from men’s rights for the first time. Normally, the women’s broadcast rights have been sold in a bundle with men’s FA Cup.

Neither saddled by corruption nor scandals, women’s football could boost its profile by reaching out to a wider range of audience; thus, the association is inclined to a deal with free-to-air broadcasters rather than pay-TV, according to a Bloomberg report.

Moreover, viewers currently need to switch between pay-TV channels, BBC digital platforms and Facebook live streams to watch the match.

The Women’s World Cup fever did not stop in the UK: France’s female league sold its broadcasting rights to Canal+ at six times higher than in 2017 — at €6 million (US$6.7 million). Furthermore, the number of European national associations with dedicated sponsors has almost doubled from nine in 2013 to 17 in 2017.

As the negotiations of broadcasting rights start to roll, the commercial appeal of the Women’s World Cup will be put to the test.

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