Basketball Australia today announced an improved coverage deal for the Women’s National Basketball League – giving fans a better timeslot for free-to-air TV and more choice on how they view weekly games.
Continuing the WNBL’s long-standing partnership with ABC TV, the new agreement means fans will see:
1. Live game coverage on the ABC’s Grandstand website every Friday night;
2. Delayed game broadcasts shown on ABC’s main free-to-air TV channel ABC1 – at the improved time slot of 4:00PM on Saturday afternoon;
3. All finals live and in full also on ABC’s free-to-air TV channel ABC 1, and
4. Games on-demand through ABC's popular catch up channel iView for up to 14 days after broadcast;
The delayed game broadcasts will replay full WNBL games with stoppages removed.
Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Kristina Keneally said the new agreement would make it easier for fans to access WNBL games throughout the 2012/13 season – which tips off on October 5.
“This is about giving fans more opportunities to see WNBL games, and more choice on how they do so,” Ms Keneally said.
“Fans who can’t physically make it down to a game can still watch a live WNBL game every Friday night through ABC’s Grandstand portal; catch the delayed coverage on free-to air TV at the far more convenient timeslot of 4:00PM Saturday; or watch it anytime on ABC TV's catch up service iView.
“We go into the 2012/13 WNBL season buoyed by the remarkable performances of the Jayco Australian Opals at this year’s London Olympic Games.
“We’re thrilled to have eight of our 12 Olympians – including international superstar Lauren Jackson – returning to our shores for the WNBL this season, which is shaping up to be one of the best yet.
“We’re also pleased to be continuing our partnership with the ABC – which is one of the longest running broadcast partnerships in Australian sport after 33 consecutive years.
“That partnership has been integral in building the WNBL into the only truly national women’s professional sporting competition in Australia.”
ABC TV Head of Sport and Events Justin Holdforth said: "This is a significant moment in ABC TV's continued commitment to women's sport.
“The WNBL is an elite competition that deserves to reach as many Australians as possible. We look forward to this new, more flexible broadcast arrangement for delivering that audience."
Australian Opal, Olympic Flag-bearer and multiple WNBL MVP Lauren Jackson – who will return to play for the Canberra Capitals later this season – said she was pleased to see Basketball Australia and the ABC taking steps to open up women's basketball to even more fans.
"The WNBL is one of the strongest women's professional leagues in the world, and our growing crowd numbers in recent years are testament to that," Ms Jackson said.
"We're lucky to already have such a broad, supportive fan-base right across Australia. Moving forward, we naturally need to make sure that base stays connected to the league while also bringing new fans along.
"With that in mind, it's a smart move to give fans who can't physically make it down to a game more access and more choice in terms of how they watch the WNBL at home – and digital broadcasting and better free-to-air programming will go a long way in doing that."