Another WNBL season has started; Twitter is ablaze with excitement.
Australian sports fans are riding high on the hype after the London Olympics; now is an opportune time to promote the Women’s National Basketball League. Spectators who may not have considered watching women’s basketball before, surely could not help being swept up in the action in the Opals games, televised live on Foxtel.
With world-class players returning to our shores, including the World’s Best Player, a number of imports added to the mix, and the young talent of the Australian Institute of Sport dispersed among the teams, Season 2012-13 is full of promise.
So, what is the coverage like? Basketball Australia announced their new “improved coverage” deal with long-time broadcaster ABC, just 3 days before the season opener. The new agreement includes a live webcast on ABC Grandstand every Friday night, and a delayed broadcast on free-to-air channel ABC1 in a one hour timeslot.
If you’re thinking “how is this possibly improved?” then I share your cynicism. Yes, some of us can still recall the one-hour-of-WNBL-highlights days.
The spin-pill that fans are expected to swallow, is the new timeslot will attract more viewers to the sport, and the flexibility of the broadcast arrangement allows fans more choice of how they watch at home. You know, because fans like seeing just parts of games. And poor resolution webcasts. We love having that choice.
Look at what programs are on ABC instead. Saturday afternoons, viewers can watch old Pink Panther movies before the game, the Wonder Years repeats after. Both equally justifiable reasons to cut the WNBL broadcast short... And Friday nights on ABC2 hold repeats of Spicks and Specks, and food shows. Which validly explains why the 2008-09 media deal cannot be replicated...
What is also disappointing to see, is the teams and players promulgating this propaganda. It appears that only the fans are concerned with demanding better standards for women’s basketball from ABC, Basketball Australia, and BA CEO Kristina Keneally.
Women’s basketball simply deserves better. It will be a detriment to the sport if supporters no longer get to see games in full, or in reasonable picture quality.
WNBL fans are loyal to the women’s game. It’s about time that loyalty was reciprocated.