Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Women's Soccer League kicks off in UK

When I interviewed Irish soccer player Emma Byrne just before Christmas she was excited about the new women's league planned for the UK in 2011. Byrne is the Arsenal keeper so will be looking to hold onto that team's winning reputation. The first game in the FA WSL is set now for April 14th with the final in September. 

England soccer team pic Joe Plimmer

Teams are:
Arsenal Ladies FC
Birmingham City Ladies FC
Bristol Academy Women’s FC
Chelsea Ladies FC
Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies FC
Everton Ladies FC
Lincoln Ladies FC
Liverpool Ladies FC

The games are being broadcast on ESPN in the UK which will hopefully give the players a higher profile outside the immediate circle of fans. With standards improving every year, there's no reason why people wouldn't want to follow both the male and female teams of their favourite club.... or is there? 

Do you think this competition has a chance of increasing the sport's profile?


Emmet Ryan said...

When I interviewed Georgina Turner last week one of the key things she said was necessary for the sport was the presence of TV coverage.

I think you may be confused on the ESPN bit, it's the UK version of ESPN that will be showing it.

niamh said...

Thanks Emmet for drawing my attention to that! I've clarified above now that it is the new UK ESPN channel not the American channel.
It's like a Catch-22 - sponsors don't want you if you don't have TV but TV isn't interested unless you are very successful which is hard without money which ...

niamh said...

PS - what were you talking with Turner about? Is Action81 hiring:)

Emmet Ryan said...

Did a podcast with her for IWD.

Unknown said...

As a USA based fan, I'm intrigued at the concept of a men's & woman's team for an organization. The closest thing we have to this is our college sport programs. In that model the women's teams rarely can match the following that the men in the same sport get. On the pro level I am hopeful that this can work.... The only Pro women's team sport in the US that gets TV time is the WNBA and that is still a tiny fraction of the men's market. I'm hopeful, but until you can get the primary watchers of sports (mostly men) to watch women's sports for the love of the game it will be an uphill battle. Here's to hoping I'm really wrong!

niamh said...

I wish you were wrong John! But, really until we can see "sportspeople" not women or men, women's sport will always lag behind. There is a perception that women's sports aren't as good/fast/strong/exciting (delete as appropriate) even among female sports fans so... uphill battle but fun to be on the journey!