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Please. We need your help to keep women's basketball on TV.

We need to sign this petition if we want younger girls to have sporting role models to look up to.

Women basketball players are campaigning hard against the Government’s decision to reduce live sport coverage on the ABC. Why? Because the changes will unsurprisingly hit women’s sport the hardest.

Australia’s top female basketballers have put a petition forward to ABC studios in most of Australia’s major cities. The petition has signatures from big names such as Lauren Jackson, Rachael Sporn, Michele Timms and Jenny Cheesman.

Carolyn Watts, a WNBL team forward organised the 5000-signature petition and gave it to the ABC studios. The petition is specifically geared toward the WNBL coverage cuts, but is also a response to the budget cuts across the sporting board.

Carolyn Watts and Randal Mathieson. Image supplied by Carolyn Watts.

Watts spoke to Mamamia and said, “The cuts are a huge step backwards for women’s sport. Women’s basketball has a huge participation base. Broadcasting exposure encourages young women to participate, to aspire to achieve. These women are strong positive role models.”

“Worse case scenario clubs close, players go overseas, the league shrinks, participation drops and medals disappear,” she told us.

Related Content: Devastating: This week has been crippling for Australian women’s sport.

The petition starts with a direct message to the Managing Director of the ABC, asking Mark Scott to ensure the continuation of the live broadcasting of the Australian Women’s Basketball League. The petition continues to explain that the recent budget cuts has seen the end of live coverage for women’s basketball, which will have a hugely negative impact on the sport in general.

The group want action. Image supplied by Carolyn Watts.

“The ABC are an important long term partner. I hope they know that they have made a huge contribution to Australia’s international success. We want them to continue to be,” Watts says.

“It’s not just an investment in entertainment, ABC are contributing to women’s health, medal success and children’s physical activity. I now wonder whether they knew how important they were.”

Related Content: Why 2014 really was the year of Australian women in sport.

The petition explains that current and future participation for younger women and international medals relies on the coverage to stay. It points out that, “The ABC has broadcasted the WNBL since its inception in 1981, a 35-year-old partnership.”

The impact that these cuts will have on future generations of female athletes is enormous. Australian women’s basketball has produced some world class athletes including Penny Taylor, Lauren Jackson and Michelle Timms. But for more young women to take their places, they need to be able to watch their heroes on screen and to dream big.

The televising of the sport has been what’s provided professionalism to women’s sport. It has allowed women’s sport to grow and prosper in the last decade because it has provided funds by bringing in sponsors and fans.

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“The harsh economic reality is without broadcasting,  sponsors don’t get to leverage their brand so any financial value is significantly impacted. The league and clubs rely on sponsors for their survival,” Watts told Mamamia.

The league has also given young girls a lot of amazing, strong and independent role models to look up to.

There will be no more role models for the younger generation.

The petition ends with the most powerful point: Women already get paid very little in comparison to their male counterparts and less than some women internationally. They already struggle to get by with what they are paid, and without the fans and sponsorship that TV coverage brings they will struggle to be able to play at all.

There final plea says, “This cut will see women’s sports take a massive step backwards, reducing access and publicity for the sports to levels not seen since the 1970’s.”

“Though we must never underestimate the sporting community. I think that people will as they have before put their heads together to source a solution.  We won’t let the worse case scenario become a reality because we will all continue to fight for its survival. Plus we will win a Gold medal next Olympics it will be Australia’s time,” Carolyn says.

The petition is asking, “that the ABC reconsider their decision to cut the WNBL live broadcasting to ensure the sports future.” So friends, let’s get behind them.

Go here and sign the petition, let’s keep our female sporting stars, and role models on TV.

*The feature image for this post was supplied by Carolyn Watts

And in other women’s  sporting news this week…

– A women’s Big Bash League has been given the go ahead by Cricket Australia. The first ever eight-team women’s Big Bash League will begin later this year. It will replace the current seven team Women’s T20. Melbourne and Sydney will get two teams each, but Canberra will not get a gig so will be reconfigured to fit in. Exciting news for women’s cricket.

– The women’s cycling pursuit squad have broken a record. The girls beat the old national record by two seconds during Australia’s first ride of the 2015 track cycling world championships in Paris on Thursday. The team consisted of Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins. The girls broke their own record, which they’d set in Melbourne three weeks ago. Well done girls.

– The NSW sports awards were held on Thursday and female athletes dominated the nomination spots. The final five for the award were all female contenders; canoeist Jessica Fox, surfer Stephanie Gilmore, swimmer Emma McKeon, lawn bowler Karen Murphy and diver Esther Qin. They battled it out to become the top athlete of the year at the 20th anniversary for the NSW Sports Awards dinner.

What are you watching in women’s sport this week?