Netball Europe and Women’s Super League reach bigger audiences with social media live-streaming

Weekends when the Premier League takes a backseat are always an opportunity for others, but for some growing sports their quest for exposure doesn’t stop. This weekend, however, was a prime time for sports fans logging onto social media to discover something a little bit different.

Both Netball Europe and the FA Women’s Super League streamed live sport for free this weekend, the latest in a long line of sports turning to social media to screen their games, but also a great way to boost viewership and appeal to fans beyond the spheres they currently work in. Going live on Facebook or Twitter potentially gives access to a greater audience than most other means of broadcasting your games live. And that’s why the WSL have committed to streaming one game a week live on Facebook, whilst also having games shown on the BBC and BT Sport.

Beyond that, the organisation have also helpfully set up a graphic to show fans which games are coming up at the weekend and – crucially – where they’re being broadcast, helping fans to know where, when and how they can follow their team.

They’re not the only emerging sport to take such a route of course.

Last weekend, the official Netball Europe account broadcast the European Open championships from Cardiff in Wales, as the four Home Nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland welcomed Fiji for the tournament. The stream was also picked up on the BBC Sport website, who didn’t just show the coverage, but who provided match reports and gave a bigger platform to the tournament. But Twitter enabled the video to be consumed beyond the UK and around the world.

Live-streaming on social media, as well as free-to-air broadcasting on the likes of the BBC, who don’t just rely on their linear TV channels in order to screen live sport, is a clear opportunity for growing sports like netball and women’s football. Indeed, it’s something which allows for a flexibility that isn’t present in other sports who have long-standing rights deals which may be harder to change. It also allows for worldwide coverage in many cases.

The USA’s crucial football World Cup qualifying game away to Trinidad and Tobago this week will not be broadcast on one of the big broadcasters in the United States due to the vagaries of football’s media rights. Something that even moved the US Soccer federation to release a statement on their website to explain why American fans will need to look a little harder to find the game. Perhaps in the future, it’s a social media platform which will solve such problems.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 635 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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