Pay-television broadcaster Sky is said to be in prime position to secure UK rights to football’s top-tier Women’s Super League.
Sky is thought to have outbid other broadcasters for most of the packages offered in the recent invitation to tender for 2021-22 onwards, according to The Telegraph.
SportBusiness understands the bid deadline was last Friday. The tender was the first time rights-holder the English FA had offered WSL rights separately to the market. These rights were previously subsumed in its tender for the men’s FA Cup knock-out competition.
Telco BT and public-service broadcaster the BBC are the incumbents, jointly holding domestic WSL rights from 2018-19 to 2020-21. BT and the BBC effectively do not pay for the WSL in their current agreement, committing instead to covering the costs of production.
The FA also broadcasts WSL matches on its a direct-to-consumer OTT platform, focused specifically on women’s football, called The FA Player.
It has been working with the Women’s Sports Group consultancy on the sales process, which was set up last year to increase the profile of women’s sport.
The rights-holder and its appointed Pitch International agency have recently secured a US broadcast deal with Sky’s sister company NBC, along with deals in Germany and Italy with OTT operator DAZN.
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has reportedly expressed an interest in investing in the WSL.