Fox, Kayo Sports Lead The Way For Women’s Sport Broadcasting
Reflecting on their time at the Women In Sport Summit, which was supported by Kayo Sports, marketing director, Kim McConnie and Foxtel Media sales director, Katherine Frost discussed how both organisations are growing women’s sport.
Additionally, Fox Sports ambassador and AFLW athlete, Chloe Molloy and Fox Sports presenter, Lara Pitt discussed FOX’s cadet and internship programs, which helps women looking for careers in sports media take a step in the right direction.
Growing women’s sport:
Commenting on Kayo’s efforts to grow women’s sport, McConnie said they’ve been embracing the value of women’s sport, which is evident by the Foxtel Group investing more money in women’s sport than any other broadcaster.
“I think it’s a combination of really making sure that we’re driving that prominence of women’s sport and putting it front and centre, and making sure that we do that through all of the codes that we work with, and really promote and push women’s sport,” McConnie said.
Adding onto Foxtel’s coverage of women’s sport, Frost said 80% is broadcast on FOX Sports and Kayo, including 19 different codes across 46 competitions, which are all broadcast live.
Future plans for women’s sport:
On the future strategies Kayo can implement to grow women’s sport, McConnie said it’s important they broadcast women’s sport at all levels.
“We broadcast over 15 sports at the elite level, that’s over 2700 hours of live sport, but it’s not just about the elite level. Take netball for example, we’re broadcasting the Australian National Championships and demonstrating the pathways to reach the elite,” McConnie said.
“So, I think part of the initiatives and programmes is to continue to elevate the elite game and show it in the light it needs to be shown in. We also need to complement and support that by streaming tier two and three competitions, which wouldn’t really get a platform for viewership without Kayo,” she said.
Using broadcasting rights to shine a light on female athletes:
By broadcasting 80% of women’s sport in Australia, Kayo and FOX are also in the unique position of being able to shine a lot on female athletes, where McConnie said it’s about having women’s sport prominently placed on the platform, where people will buy into it.
“The role that we have is making sure that it’s very visible on the platform, making sure that it’s always there, easily accessible, and we have both breadth and depth of sport, as well,” McConnie said.
Additionally, Frost gave insight into how they utilised the netball broadcast deal, where some coverage was placed in front of the paywall to incentivise subscription deals, while also providing grassroots clubs with subscriptions as well.
“One other thing we did during the netball was around about round 11, we started to simulcast. So, netball was running on channel 505 and we started to simulcast that across Fox Sports News which is available to everyone that has a Foxtel subscription on a basic package. Which did generate a larger audience after round 11,” Frost said.
Developing female athletes in sports media:
On creating opportunities for female athletes in sports media, McConnie said Kayo can create backstories, which they call ‘shoulder programming’ to help elite athletes, such as Chloe Molloy develop their off-field profiles.
Adding onto what Kayo is doing for female athletes, Molloy said FOX provides them with a cadetship program, which is designed specifically for athletes and aims to have one go through the program every 12 months, but she hopes for even more investment in female athletes in the future.
“It’s hard because you can’t just make a job out of nothing and pull it out of thin air but I think having investment in the athletes and what they want to do off field and if that is the media then then getting him in and keeping kind of them within that circle,” Molloy said.
“There’s quite a sad story about one of the AFLW players, who had to retire because she knew she wanted to pursue a career in basketball media and obviously that was conflicting. So, for example, if we could have kept her in the AFLW and done some sort of media within the league she wouldn’t have been forced to retire and pursue her career.
“So, I think some more programmes and I know it’s hard but maybe more funding in a cadetship or an internship, even if it runs for a couple of months or just for the season. I think that would be something innovative to bring in to keep the athletes who are interested in the media in the sport and keep them in the one bubble,” she said.
Opportunities for women in sports media:
After 16 years in the sports media industry, Pitt said a lot has changed in the sports media industry, which is a reflection on where women’s sport is now and where it’s heading.
“Across the board, you’re seeing more and more women lead the conversation and make a meaningful contribution to whichever code they want. I think that there is a genuine feeling that women have a place just alongside men in sports now and maybe that wasn’t the case 15-20 years ago,” Pitt said.
“We also have a great intern programme, where several women in the production team graduated from. It’s not exclusive to them, however, I know that several women have come through that programme directly out of graduating or are still studying and finishing off their degree before they come into full time work,” she said.
To read the previous story from the Women In Sport Summit, where Naomi McCarthy discussed Griffith University’s efforts to progress women’s sport, click here.