BBC Sport and ITV have announced they will broadcast the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup in the UK. Until this point, it had been uncertain whether or not a broadcast deal could be struck for the tournament, which kicks off in Australia and New Zealand on July 20.
Following the agreement, coverage of all 64 games will be split across the BBC and ITV. The final is going to be shown on both BBC One and ITV1. As well as linear channels, both broadcasters will use their digital platforms, iPlayer and ITVX. The BBC will also provide audio commentary across Radio 5 Live and 5 Sports Extra.
In statements released on Wednesday, Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, said:
We have shown every Women’s World Cup on the BBC since 1999 and we are happy to extend our partnership with FIFA for the upcoming tournament. The growth of the women’s game is extraordinary, demonstrated by the 28 million who watched BBC coverage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the huge audience of 17.4 million who watched our coverage of the Euro 2022 final on TV last summer. In partnership with ITV we are delighted to make this World Cup available to the widest possible audience and free to air.
Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said:
We’re delighted to be able to bring comprehensive coverage of the Women’s World Cup, free to air to our audiences with both live and highlights broadcasts across ITV and ITVX. This tournament promises to provide memorable moments with the popularity of women’s football continuing to grow. England’s Lionesses are entering the World Cup Finals as European champions and fans have been able to follow their progress to qualification on ITV through our coverage of the World Cup qualifiers, so we hope they’ll join us to see all the action from Australia and New Zealand throughout the tournament.
In FIFA’s own statement announcing broadcasting rights across 34 territories, President Gianni Infantino said:
FIFA is delighted to widen the deal with the European Broadcasting Union for the transmission of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup to include the five major markets within their existing networks, namely France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as Ukraine, thus ensuring maximum exposure for the tournament. As part of this agreement, the EBU has committed to working towards broadcasting at least one hour of weekly content dedicated to women’s football on its own digital platform and broadcaster network. This will provide a huge promotional and exposure opportunity for women’s football, which is a top priority for us in line with FIFA’s commitment to the long-term development of the sport.
It has been a rather unedifying battle to get here. FIFA was reportedly ramping up the price they asked broadcasters to pay following the recent growth in the women’s game. Happily, we are now going to be able to the Lionesses roar (hopefully!) down under!