Australians are already underfed with coverage of women’s sport, and with the government’s recent decisions to cut the ABC budget, it’s only going to get worse.
One of the key casualties of the ABC budget cuts will be the coverage of women’s sport.
Australia’s national broadcaster recently told their staff that both the women’s soccer and women’s basketball will be culled from the only regular free-to-air spot they have on Australian television. The coverage will stop at the end of the current season along with the Shute Shield rugby union and other state football leagues.
Board Director of Australian Womensport and Recreation Association, Danielle Warby, believes that completely cutting the coverage shows a disregard for one of the ABC’s major audiences.
“Football is the only game the whole world plays. The Matildas are in the top 10 and have an infinitely greater chance of winning the World Cup than the Socceroos… When there’s an interstate match, I’m watching live while chatting online with the very engaged and vocal fans on Twitter,” she said.
Former Minister for Sport Kate Lundy said the cuts are “absolutely devastating”.
Lundy said that if women’s sport was no longer in public circles it would not have the revenue strength to leverage sponsorships, which could mean that female players would not even have their costs covered to play a professional sport.
“The whole thing has gone backward,” she said.
Lundy expressed her concern about the social effect the cuts may have on Australians, especially considering the lack of female role models on TV.
She said the coverage of sport was about “inspiring Australians of all ages to stay active and to play sport….What if the only sporting role models were blokes? Where does that leave the girls?” she said. “We’re in a devastating position.”
Australian basketball player Lauren Jackson has taken to Twitter to show her frustration about the government cuts.
#abccuts passively disenfranchising women… Again!
— Lauren Jackson (@laurenej15) November 25, 2014