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SBD Global/August 17, 2012/Media

Australia's ABC Cuts Two Women's Leagues From Live, Delayed Coverage

The decision by the ABC to "drastically cut back live TV coverage of the country's two main women's national leagues" has been labelled as discriminatory and sexist by the Australian Womensport and Recreation Association. Association President Janice Crosswhite said the decision to cut in half the Women's National Basketball League and the W-League football coverage was "a step back into the dark ages." Crosswhite: "I'm just flabbergasted on first hearing about the ABC's decision. The Opals, our women's national basketball team, has just returned home from the London Olympics with it's fifth straight medal." Under the new proposal, the WNBL and W-League will be broadcast in back-to-back one-hour highlights packages on ABC 1, instead of live games or full match relapse, as was done in the past. Live games will still be available online on the ABC's website, with the W-League also streamed on the Football Federation Australia's website. A FFA official said that the "decision was made in conjunction with the ABC after viewing figures year-on-year for the W-League fell" by more than 45,000. An ABC representative said the decision to put the W-League and the WNBL on a "slight delay" was no different than the Nine Network's coverage of the Sunday afternoon National Rugby League. The representative added, "The format of the telecast will be 60 minutes in order to remove timeouts, half-times" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/16). In a statement, Basketball Australia CEO Kristina Keneally said: “Today’s reports about ABC TV scrapping coverage of the WNBL are without foundation. The fact is Basketball Australia and the ABC are still negotiating the coverage of the upcoming WNBL season. We anticipate that there are several more weeks of discussions to be had." Keneally added, "The reality is the media landscape is changing. Digital broadcasting, Internet and free to air are all part of that changing media landscape, and are feeding into these discussions" (WNBL).
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