Once the current broadcast deal for the Women’s Super League (WSL) expires at the end of this current season, TNT Sports is reportedly interested in lodging a bid for the next rights cycle.
According to the Daily Mail, TNT Sports is looking to compete with current broadcasters Sky Sports and BBC for a share of games for next season and beyond.
The WSL’s current broadcast deal is worth £8m per season but this is expected to rise considerably due to TNT’s interest, as well as the league aiming to offer “significantly” more televised games in the next deal.
Sky Sports and BBC currently showcase 35 matches a season but that figure is expected to jump once the WSL issues tender invitations for bids, with negotiations expected to begin once the Premier League has finalised its broadcast deal in January.
Whilst the Daily Mail notes that Sky Sports and TNT could end up sharing live WSL games as they do for Premier League fixtures, it remains unclear whether BBC will retain any of its games if the UK broadcaster remains interested.
The report revealed that TNT became interested in the WSL once the broadcaster understood that the women’s league is considering removing the 3pm blackout for Saturday fixtures, enabling matches in that time slot to be televised for the first time.
Despite the Premier League announcing it will be offering more televised games in its next rights cycle, bumping live games from 200 to 270 a season, it has maintained in the past that it will not drop the 3pm blackout.
Since its rebrand from BT Sports to TNT Sports last summer, the UK sports broadcaster has been highly active in the rights market, particularly investing in women’s sport.
TNT recently agreed a landmark deal for women’s rugby when it agreed a multi-year deal with Premiership Women’s Rugby to showcase up to 20 live games per season.
The reported interest from TNT in the WSL will also bring about significant investment for women’s football in the UK which has been riding a wave of momentum due to the recent successes of the England Lionesses, which has sparked new interest in the women’s game.
A recent study by Women’s Sports Trust revealed that 42% of females tuned into the 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup, the highest figure to date, as the Lionesses made a memorable run to the final, despite losing 1-0 to eventual champions Spain.