WCSL Q&A – Players & TV

Now that the ECB have announced the WCSL team names, people are starting to get excited, and they’ve got a few questions too. Here’s what we know in answer to some of the things we’ve been asked.

Who will be playing for “my” team?

Officially… we don’t know yet! The ECB have already allocated the 35 Performance (i.e. contracted) and Academy players to the teams – they know who they will be playing for, and so do the team managers and coaches – but the rest of us are waiting for an official announcement over the next couple of weeks.

Will the England players stay with their local county teams?

In most cases, yes… but rumour has it, maybe not all!

What about the “overseas” stars?

Around 60 overseas stars applied for the 18 roster-spots on-offer in WCSL. The hosts (franchises) are now negotiating with the ECB over who will go where. Whilst the England players were allocated by the ECB, this part of the process is host-driven – they say who they want, presumably after weighing up which England players they have (there’s perhaps little point in having Sarah Taylor and Alyssa Healy, for example) and this is then subject to ECB approval.

Where are the other players coming from?

The hosts will be selecting the remaining 5-6 domestic players themselves – probably drawing them mainly from their local county teams, subject to formal ECB approval.

Will it be on TV?

This was always going to be a tricky one. Sky own the rights to all cricket played under the auspices of the ICC in England and Wales; and they jealously guard their exclusivity, so realistically it was Sky or bust – there was never any chance that one of the “free-to-air” broadcasters would be able to show it. And although we understand Sky were reasonably happy with the viewing figures for last summer’s Women’s Ashes, this is seen as a much less commercially enticing proposition, so it seems unlikely that the league stages will be broadcast.

But… wasn’t the WBBL a big TV success?

Yes… but… that was based on “built-in” support for the existing (men’s) franchises and it was paid for by Cricket Australia, who fronted-up the bulk of the broadcasting costs. The WCSL just doesn’t have the budget to do this.

Might the finals be televised?

The finals will be played on a “showcase” day at Chelmsford, and it is rumoured that the ECB are still hoping that Sky might be enticed to get their cameras out for this, but it isn’t a given yet.

The men’s counties stream some games online – could they do this for WCSL?

The streaming of men’s county games is explicitly built into the contract between the ECB and Sky, and is only permitted when there isn’t any other cricket being broadcast at that time. Streaming WCSL would require additional special dispensation from Sky; however, there is a precedent – Sky allowed the ECB to live-stream the England/ India ODI series in 2014 – so it isn’t out of the question.

All answers provided in good faith, to the best of our knowledge.

If we’ve got anything wrong, we will more than happily correct it – you know where we live 😉

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5 thoughts on “WCSL Q&A – Players & TV

  1. Disappointing to hear about the coverage. Those Sky broadcasting terms are fairly ridiculous. Hosts should be able to stream or broadcast what they want, how they want. This is a reason why “going rouge” from the ICC might not be such a bad idea to some people. Sky again showing why their dominance of the cricket media is a double-edged sword, and is effectively willfully holding up progress of women’s cricket. Give with one hand and take with the other. Catch 22: Can’t broadcast because not commercially viable; can’t get commercially viable because not broadcast.

    Kickstarter, anyone? It’s reaching that stage now.

    Can’t say I’m holding out for radio coverage, but maybe we might get something at least.

    About the players, you say “there’s perhaps little point in having Sarah Taylor and Alyssa Healy, for example”, not sure I agree. Both would make their way into most sides on batting ability alone. Maybe not first choice together, but hardly a “problem”.

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  2. Women’s football admittedly now on BT Sport got a kick start from a combination of team success and BBC world cup coverage. At least there will be TMS coverage.

    I’d settle for team success but this World Cup will be a barometer for England and a shop window for some prospective WCSL players. I’m not exactly brimming with confidence for the WC but the result will affect the team profile into the summer.

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    • I don’t think the T20 WC result for England should affect the team’s profile for the summer (unless we win it of course!), but you’re right it probably will. England could have a bad world cup and the WCSL could be great. Or, England could do well and WCSL be disappointing. The 2 don’t have to be connected.

      In the WC, 2 group stage losses against India/WI are very possible – we wouldn’t even need to play particularly badly and we’re out. However, we can at least “relax” a bit in the summer as Pakistan should not have enough to trouble us, from what I’ve seen.

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  3. I honestly think that the ECB & SKY are not maximising the women’s game – netball, hockey and football are getting better exposure at all levels. With football now being a summer sport and the Olympic Hockey being a real medal focus plus pro netball.

    The game needs more of a statement WCSL ticks a lot of the boxes but the media element feels half hearted.

    Whatever happens in WCup the core fans will always be there but its not them it has to be sold too

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