There Has Been A Seismic Shift In Sport Broadcasting

24/08/2015 3:26 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 16: Kellie Gibson (R) of the Bulldogs collides with and tumbles over Britany Bonnici of the Demons during a Women's AFL exhibition match between Western Bulldogs and Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on August 16, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The ground is shifting.

It’s been a long hard road but there seems to finally be some forward movement -- with momentum.

Every weekend, Australians enjoy a large quantity of sport, locally and internationally.

We can’t get enough of it.

But for some, the absence of recognition of women’s sport has been an injustice -- especially given Australian women are just so damn good at it.

We excel at cricket, basketball, netball, rugby, football, hockey, swimming, surfing, sailing … and the list goes on.

This past few weeks have seen a cataclysmic shift in this state of affairs.

Who would have thought we’d see Women’s football (Aussie rules) broadcast live on mainstream television.

The match between the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs not only had mainstream media coverage but received substantial accolades for the standard of play and the skills of the players.

This game was the second in a series of two ‘exhibition’ games and comes on the back of the first ever Women’s Draft held earlier this year with the AFL aiming to introduce a national competition by 2017 and there are reports that four more AFL clubs want Women's teams.

If you weren’t focused on the footy, you were probably watching yet another stellar performance by our netballers winning the World Cup in Sydney on the final day of the tournament, securing a 3-point win over arch rivals the NZ Silver Ferns.

This was the Diamonds' third straight World Cup victory and while they are still basking in the glow of public, media and even parliamentary adulation, it wasn’t long ago that Netball Australia had to pay a free-to-air television broadcaster to show its weekly national championship competition.

The Opals won the Oceania Championships which double as the qualification for the 2016 Olympics.

While the male cricketers redeemed some pride by winning the fifth and final Ashes Test, the Southern Stars have excelled in their efforts and will be returning home with the otherwise-forfeited urn.

Such is their success, the Australian women’s cricket team is now ranked number one in EVERY form of the game: an historic moment in Australian sport.

Add to this, the success just a few months ago of the Australian women’s football team at the Women’s World Cup in Canada, and the announcement last week that the Matildas’ captain Lisa De Vanna and mid-fielder Elise Kellond-Knight have been named in the FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star squad.

Media coverage has been growing in recent times through digital, online and social media platforms but the guardians of the mainstream media platforms of broadcast and print have been slow to come to the party and acknowledge the demand for the coverage of women’s sport.

However, in what appears to be a shift in attitude if not a concession to popular demand, major events are being covered by mainstream broadcasters in both radio and television and reported on extensively in the print media.

Finally, an acceptance that we are in the 21st century and women are strong consumers of sport both as participants and as spectators.

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