By Louise Toal
Fans from Galway’s women’s football club can now watch live games on RTÉ Sport as part of a new deal with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).
The FAI have announced a new broadcast deal that will see the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League broadcasted on RTÉ Sport Friday nights up until the mid-season break in June. Fans can also watch matches on a newly developed streaming service LOITV for free that is set to be launched in the coming weeks.
RTÈ Sport will cover all production costs for WATCHLOI with all profits from the platform set to go straight to the Premier Division clubs. LOITV will stream all matches across the SSE Airtricity First Division and the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League with Pixellot cameras to be installed in every ground ahead of the 2021 season.
The Pixellot system uses artificial intelligence with HD cameras to deliver a top-quality viewing experience with the cameras used in many leagues across the world. The streaming service will also be available to the coaching and analysis staff at all clubs.
Captain for Galway’s WFC Shauna Fox said, “I think it’s a really big step in the right direction for the women’s game, for every WNL game to be streamed and available to viewers especially in the times we are in now where spectators at the matches isn’t an option, is massive. Hopefully the constant coverage week in week out draws more attention to the league and gets more people interested and involved. We were lucky enough at Galway WFC to have our games streamed live last season all thanks to Vinnie O’Connor & co, so for every team to have that this season is great and we’re all looking forward to it. It’s an opportunity to show the progress women’s soccer in Ireland has made over the last few years.”
Manager for Republic of Ireland’s women’s team Vera Pauw said, “The Women’s National League has continued to grow over the years and its development is very important for the Republic of Ireland national teams so that we continue to produce home-grown players. We see that happening at Under-17 and senior level, and now we will have an Under-19 tier too. I’m very excited about what is happening in Irish football right now.”
FAI CEO Johnathan Hill said, “I think that is a really important statement and it’s very much the direction I want women’s football to take, not just financially, but also in our desire to develop the league as well from a sporting perspective.”
Kick off to the 2021 Women’s football season begins Saturday, March 27th with the Galway Women’s FC taking on Cork City at Eamonn Deacy Park at 2pm.
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