UPDATE (18/05/2017) – We’ve now seen some fuller details: 8 KSL matches will be part of the FTA package, plus 1 women’s T20 international – so basically… it is all good news – no but!!!
Today’s exclusive by Elizabeth Ammon in The Times – that the KSL Final will be broadcast free-to-air from 2020 – is welcome news for the women’s game.
The KSL Final will be one element in a package of matches, including two men’s T20 internationals, which the ECB will require whoever wins the next broadcasting contract to make available free-to-air.
It is worth noting that this doesn’t necessarily mean these games will be shown on traditional “TV” – for example, BT Sport will this year fulfil similar contractual requirements for men’s football by partnering with YouTube.
Nevertheless, it’s good news… right?
It is… but there’s a but!
By continuing the policy of folding the women’s broadcast deal in with the men’s, it seems that this one match will be the only women’s cricket which will be shown free-to-air – Pay TV (be it Sky or BT Sport) will therefore likely retain exclusivity for England women’s internationals and the rest of the Super League; dashing hopes that a stand-alone women’s free-to-air TV deal might have become the driver for a surge in interest in the sport, as we’ve seen with both women’s football in England and women’s cricket in Australia.
With all the good news we’ve had recently, from All Stars Cricket (which anecdotally really does seem to have hit a sweet spot) to live-streaming of the Women’s World Cup, there’s no doubt that we do seem to be moving in the right direction – but it will take more than one game on free-to-air to change the landscape.