Betfred Women’s Super League reaches for the Sky

Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com - 18/04/2021 - Rugby League - Betfred Womens Super League Round 1 - Leeds Rhinos v York City Knights - Sport Park Weetwood, Leeds, England - Leeds Rhinos’ Adaoha Akiwiwu celebrates scoring a try

Sky Sports will tonight mark the long-awaited return of the Betfred Women’s Super League by launching a new weekly 15-minutes highlights programme, taking the competition to an even wider audience.

The first match featured will be an impressive start to the season by the 2018 champions Wigan Warriors and especially their England wing Georgia Wilson, who scored five tries and four goals in their 52-8 victory over the BWSL newcomers Warrington Wolves – who still showed plenty of promise on their competition debut, which had been delayed by more than a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The highlights will be shown on Monday on Sky Sports Arena and Mix from 8.45pm, the start of an exciting year of Women’s RL coverage on Sky which continues with England’s Mid-Season International against Wales in June, and culminates in the BWSL Grand Final from Emerald Headingley on Saturday October 10.

Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “This is more great news as we celebrate the return of the Betfred Women’s Super League after such a long absence.

“We’re delighted to be working this season with Neville Smith, formerly the Rugby League Executive Producer on Sky Sports, through his new company In Touch Productions – both in our live BWSL coverage on Twitch, full match replays on Our League, and now with highlights on Sky.

“We are determined to provide the best possible platform for the outstanding athletes of the Betfred Women’s Super League, especially as they prepare for a home World Cup this autumn.”

Streaming figures for the Warrington-Wigan game on Twitch show more than 300,000 unique viewers, with 46,000 of them in the UK.

In addition, the RFL’s Twitter accounts had their busiest ever Sunday with almost 1m impressions – helped by the launch of a new video, Ready to Play, looking forward to the resumption of Community Rugby League competitions over the coming weeks, including the other levels of Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League Community Rugby League is READY TO PLAY! (rugby-league.com).

Featured matches for the next two weeks, on Twitch and Sky, have also been confirmed.

Next Sunday, attention switches to the Betfred Challenge Cup, and Warrington will be featured again – this time against Huddersfield Giants, the other newcomers to BWSL in 2021.

The following week, on May 2, the champions Leeds Rhinos will make their first televised appearance of the season against Featherstone Rovers.

There is set to be another significant announcement for Women’s Rugby League in the coming weeks, with a meeting on Wednesday to finalise plans for a first competition in the south of England and Wales.

Thomas Brindle, the BWSL General Manager, said: “One of the most exciting features of the opening weekend of the season was the number of new players who made a real impact, several of them who have competed at a high level in other sports. That’s why we are excited by the possibility of expanding geographically, and offering an opportunity to women and girls in other parts of the country who want to play Rugby League.

“We’ve already seen with a number of players coming through the Armed Forces that the talent is there – and at the start of a World Cup year, this is an exciting time to start playing Rugby League.”