Sky Sports has reinforced its commitment to year-round coverage of women’s sport, including the launch of a new weekly ‘Sportswomen’ series.
The broadcaster has signed a new three-year deal with England Netball that will see the continuation of its coverage of all 12 rounds of the Netball Superleague and all home international fixtures.
Live coverage starts on Sunday, September 22, with the first of three England International fixtures against South Africa, before coverage continues with the Netball Superleague season, early next year, featuring all eight franchises from England and Wales.
Sky Sports is to launch a new regularly weekly series dedicated to women’s sport – Sportswomen – which launches on Sky Sports News on Tuesday, September 24 at 10.30am.
Sportswomen will cover all of the latest news, views and analysis and feature interviews with athletes and respected figures from the world of sport.
Presented by Hayley McQueen, she will be joined for the first show by former England football manager, Hope Powell.
It will be repeated on Sky Sports 1 at 6.30pm the same day and will also be available via Sky’s On Demand service.
The programme will complement Sky Sports’ extensive year-round coverage of women sports, which this year has included the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, the conclusion of the triumphant 2013 Women’s Ashes series, the victorious Solheim Cup win and England’s Super League Netball series win over Australia.
In addition, Sky Sports has agreed a deal for sponsorship of The Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards.
Now in its 26th year, the ceremony celebrates the outstanding contributions to sport made by women over the past year including athletes, coaches, administrators and community volunteers, and will also be screened on Sky Sports shortly after it takes place on December 5.
Last year’s Sportswoman of the Year was Sky Sports’ Ambassador Jessica Ennis-Hill, the London 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion.
Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports, said: “Women’s sport is thriving and these announcements reinforce our unrivalled commitment on screen and off.
“Our involvement in the Sportswomen of the Year Awards will continue to allow us to champion and support exceptional sporting talent.
“Sky Sports is watched by six million women every month and we already show women’s sport across more than 200 days of our calendar.
“Bringing more world class netball and our own bespoke Sportswomen programme to our schedule will add even more content for our viewers.
Commenting on Sky Sports’ new netball deal, Joanna Adams, head of marketing and commercial for England Netball, said: “This deal is great news for netball fans in the UK and hopefully watching world class netball week-in week-out will inspire the next generation of England Internationals.”
“Following England’s historic win over Australia earlier this year, which was shown live on Sky Sports, the popularity and profile of netball has never been higher.
“The exposure that Sky Sports is able to provide takes the game to a huge audience and allows us to invest in award-winning initiatives such as ‘Back to Netball’ which has seen over 30,000 women return to playing netball since 2010.”
Alex Butler, Sunday Times Sports Editor, said: “The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards have grown in stature since the launch in 1988 and are unique.
“However, with Sky Sports now involved as co-sponsor and broadcaster, the event has moved to a new level.
“The achievements of British women in sport in 2013 have been phenomenal.
“Over the coming months – in print in The Sunday Times and on air with Sky Sports – we will celebrate those achievements, culminating in what promises to be a very special evening on Thursday, December 5 when Sky will host and broadcast the awards ceremony.
“The Sportswomen of the Year Awards will confirm Sky Sports and The Sunday Times as leaders in their respective fields for sports coverage, and of women’s sport in particular.”