The sports television landscape just changed in a way that is great for women's sport and Australian sport generally.
Netball will be shown on free-to-air in prime time on Channel Nine next year. An historic five-year broadcast rights and revenue sharing agreement with Nine Entertainment and Telstra will bring two games a week to telly and two to your phone.
It will also -- and this is the really good news -- inject revenue to the sport which should mean higher salaries for netballers.
Did you know that Australian "professional" netball teams are stacked with women who must work part-time or full-time? Did you know that the salary cap for a team in the ANZ Championship, aka the Trans Tasman Netball League, is just $270,000?
Well you did now, but hopefully that'll all soon change thanks to Telstra and Nine. Netballers are among the best loved sportspeople in Australia, especially among the female audience. Now they might become the most-watched and among the better-paid.
Under the previous deal, netball languished on Channel Ten in the early afternoon. Nine will broadcast a Saturday night live double-header as well as two delayed games. Telstra will broadcast two exclusive matches per week live via Telstra TV and will also simulcast Nine's two live matches. All games will be available live on a "Netball Live" mobile app.
Another major upheaval is that the ANZ Championship will disband. Kiwi teams will play in New Zealand and three new clubs will be added to the existing five Aussie outfits, creating a league of eight teams.
The three new clubs will be run by football clubs -- Collingwood (AFL), Greater Western Sydney (AFL) and Melbourne Storm (NRL). That prompted a humorous moment from Collingwood's US import Mason Cox.
There's a really good synopsis of what all this means at the website sportette. It's the only major site in Australia dedicated to women's sport, and it's run by Channel Nine reporter and sports news reader Sam Squiers.
The only other thing you need to know is to stock up on delicious snacks. The league starts in February, a month earlier than football, which means netball really could be the new footy in 2017. Which means you really should start calling it "netty".Suggest a correction