The women’s sport we want to see on the BBC

Lets ride the wave of support for womens sport!!!

Powered by article titled “The women’s sport we want to see on the BBC” was written by Emine Saner, for The Guardian on Wednesday 19th September 2012 19.00 UTC

The BBC’s new director general’s comments about women’s sport smack a little of winning the booby prize (no pun intended). Outpriced by commercial rivals for the rights to Premier League games, George Entwistle told the Radio Times, “We are simply no longer in that league,” and that an alternative would be to target less mainstream sports. “Look at growing interest in women’s sport and what opportunities might there be for us in the future as different sports come to the public’s attention. Women’s sport could be a real opportunity for the BBC.”

No mention of why, as a public service broadcaster, women’s sport hasn’t long been given the coverage it deserves instead of being considered something to fill the sports schedules when you can’t afford the sport you want, but still. After the success of female athletes at the Olympics and Paralympics – and the number of viewers who tuned in to watch them – this year could prove a turning point for women’s sport on freeview television (some women’s rugby and football is broadcast on Sky, ESPN and British Eurosport).

What would work well? “International football has developed to a superb standard,” says Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation. “In Germany, when the women’s world cup was on [last year], women’s football was everywhere, and advertisers and brands got involved.” In the UK, MPs had to intervene to get the BBC to show England’s quarter-final match against France – its original plan was to show repeats of Porridge and Flog It!. Happily, today England’s qualifier against Croatia is on BBC2.

Internationally, Tibballs says: “Netball is also interesting. It’s a huge sport in Australia. There is some profile on Sky but there’s an opportunity to show more. A lot of the sports people enjoyed at the Olympics were things such as judo, boxing, rowing. A bit more creativity could be applied in creating packages that profile those sports, rather than just turning up to events.” A magazine show, perhaps, along the lines of the much-missedGrandstand, would be good. “We’re very much compromised by the dominance of Premier League football in this country and I think 2012 really woke everyone up to diversity.”

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