One of the best women's basketball leagues in the world will return to free to air television in 2018/19, with the WNBL set to be broadcast live on SBS.
According to the details released by Basketball Australia, SBS will simulcast nine regular season games live on Saturday afternoons at 3:00pm, with those games also being live streamed via SBS On Demand and sbs.com.au/sport. The deal is in addition to the existing Fox Sports agreement that live broadcasts one game each week, ensuring every finals game will be available to fans live, ad-break free and in HD.
“We put the WNBL back on national TV last year and now, through our new partnership with SBS, we will help grow the game even more," said Head of Fox Sports, Peter Campbell.
“We will work with SBS and the WNBL to bring women’s basketball and these incredible athletes to more fans around the country.
“The WNBL complements Foxtel’s strong basketball offering. From the NBA and WNBA on ESPN, to the NBL on Fox Sports and the Opals’ and Boomers’ World Cup campaigns, there is plenty of live action to look forward to."
“This is SBS’s first time broadcasting the WNBL, and continues SBS’s commitment to making the best of domestic sport accessible to all Australians, as well as raising the profile of women’s elite sport,” said Ken Shipp, SBS Director of Sport.
“This partnership with Basketball Australia and Fox Sports allows SBS to bring the WNBL to all Australians live, free and in HD. Basketball’s popularity continues to rise in Australia, it has an amazing ability to bring together diverse communities through the game.”
After a 36 year relationship with the ABC, the WNBL has not been on free-to-air TV since the conclusion of the 2014/15 season. While the deal with Fox Sports was a step in the right direction for the league, the recent signing of Chemist Warehouse as a naming rights sponsor, and the return to a potential mass audience with SBS is something Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore was proud of.
“With SBS joining Fox Sports and Chemist Warehouse as the League’s major partners, our WNBL athletes will be visible to more fans as we continue to deliver Australia’s longest running elite women’s sporting competition,” said Moore.
Head of WNBL Sally Phillips, a former WNBL star herself, was looking forward to expanding the reach of the WNBL through the new deal.
“Through SBS, we will be able to reach a new demographic that can watch a competition where the quality and competitiveness on court has never been stronger," Phillips stated.
"I know I speak on behalf of all WNBL fans when I say that this is a truly great day for Australian Women’s basketball. With Fox Sports and SBS joining forces, it will ensure that the league will receive more exposure than ever before.
“This is a strong and meaningful broadcast partnership and I am thrilled that basketball fans around Australia will now have greater opportunities to watch our world-class athletes hit the court each week, it’s a game-changing deal.”
The WNBL tips off on 12 October.
For more details on the WNBL schedule, visit the official website.