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Women In Sport Australia 2016: Learn What’s Happening Across Five Codes In Australian Women’s Sport

AFL Women's Players

AFL Women’s Players

I’m calling it now. Some of you already know this and have been saying this for a while so it’s by no means news to you.

The rise, positivity and excitement of women’s sport in Australia will be the sport success story of 2017. 

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 12 months you might have missed the fact that women’s sport is booming in Australia with pay, sponsorship, broadcast and attendance records all being smashed in a host of women’s team sports.

The focus on women’s sport in Australia has never been more exciting as a result of plenty of wins off the field including the new AFL Women’s competition starting in 2017, the Commonwealth Bank and Suncorp’s investment in cricket and netball respectively as well as the recent pay rises for AFL Women and the rising participation rates of females in rugby league.

While it’s a very positive time in Australian sport right now, it’s clear that there is still progress to be made to level the playing field in terms of pay and to shine a light on these superstar female athletes through even better TV broadcasting deals which will further engage fans.

These player’s personal brands are rising and in turn making them superstars of their respective games while other benefits are being seen in that new jobs are being created, crowds are continuing to rise, more young girls are playing sport and more people are watching women’s sport on TV and online.

Do yourself a favour and make sure you head out to a women’s match over summer. Take in some WBBL or a W-League game and then pick a team for the Netball and AFL competitions and get to some games in 2017 to see for yourself how much passion and skill these talented women display on the pitch.

Here are some of the key developments that have been happening in just five of the team codes over the past 3-6 months in Australian women’s sport.

AFL Women’s

  • The minimum wage for participants covering a 22-week period – including seven rounds of home and away games and the grand final – has been lifted by 70 per cent from $5000 to $8500 in 2017 following a backlash against the original offer.
  • Priority signings and top draft picks will earn $12,000, up from $10,000, while the 16 marquee players also get a $2000 increase to $27,000 under the improved deal nutted out between the AFL and the players association.
  • The deal also covers football boots and runners, an interstate travel allowance, income protection insurance, out-of-pocket medical expenses and childcare for mothers of infants.
  • The AFL Women’s season opener is scheduled for February, 2017.
  • COTTON On has recruited several female football stars to help create the uniforms for the AFL’s groundbreaking women’s league. The powerhouse company beat out other leading women’s brands, including Lorne Jane and Lululemon, for the long-term deal.
  • The COAR (Cotton On Active Range) specifically-designed fit has been created to complement the female form and enhance player performance.
  • In 2017, marquee players will receive a financial package of $27,000 (inclusive of $10,000 for their marketing and ambassadorial role), the priority players $12,000 and the remaining listed players $8,500 for the seven match (plus Grand Final) season.
  • The packages will increase to $27,946, $12,846 and $9,276 respectively in 2018.
  • The AFL Commission recently approved an increase to the initial remuneration package offered to all players to contribute to the cost of the required level of private health insurance, as well as further raising the base level payment.

In addition to the package, the NAB AFL Women’s players will receive:

  • Football boots and runners
  • Travel allowance when playing interstate
  • Income protection insurance
  • Coverage for out-of-pocket medical expenses for the 52 weeks post contract
  • An allowance to pay for a carer when travelling interstate in cases where a player has a child under 12 months

Football- W-League

  • Amateur players will now receive an allowance in line with male National Youth League (NYL) and state competitions – between $60 and $150 a week.
  • The FFA has set a salary cap of $150,000 per W-League club, with a minimum spend of just $35,000.
  • American sports broadcaster ESPN 3 will televise live W-League games in the USA.
  • Currently, only the Australian women’s team has a CBA for pay, playing, travel and training conditions which includes just 20 players on full-time contracts.
  • Australia wins recognition for women’s development as it expands its activity in Asia


  • Female cricketers have had another victory in their push for pay equality with the Commonwealth Bank investing $15 million in the women’s game and diversity over the next three years.
  • The landmark deal is the single largest investment in women’s sport and diversity programs ever seen in Australia, with Commonwealth Bank investing more than $5 million per year over three years from 2017-18.
  • Cricket Australia will produce and digitally stream almost all of the upcoming Women’s Big Bash League domestic competition, including telecasting matches via Facebook.
  • Cricket Australia announces 47 WBBL matches will be live streamed on cricket.com.au and Facebook
  • The WBBL season will kick off with a free, weekend-long carnival of cricket in Sydney on December 10-11 at North Sydney Oval, with all eight clubs to feature and six matches to be played over two days.
  • The NSW Lendlease Breakers made history by becoming the country’s first fully professional domestic women’s sporting team.
  • Breakers players now earn at least the minimum of $35,000, with the top international players earning $100,000 or more.
  • WACA appoints first female deputy chair
  • CA recently increased the payment pool for elite female cricketers from $2.36 million to $4.23 million.
  • The best players in the women’s Big Bash League will be on a retainer of $15,000.
  • Southern Stars players now earn over $100,000.

Rugby League

  • Cronulla are the first club to sign a woman to an official playing contract, withRuan Sims, 34, inking a deal with the club.
  • The league boasts a female commissioner, a female board member with the NSW Rugby League and 13 female board members across the 16 NRL clubs.
  • Almost 500,000 girls and women play a form of the game nationally, with female participation the fastest growing area of the game.
  • More than 68,000 members across the clubs are female.
  • NSW Rugby League announced the creation of a nine-a-side under-18s women’s league to start next year.
  • Women’s rugby league fastest growing sport in Queensland

Women in league: the numbers:

  • 482,000+ girls and women involved in playing the game (touch, tag or tackle)
  • Female participation up 27 per cent on 2015
  • 2,000+ female coaches, sports trainers and referees
  • 5,200+ registered female volunteers
  • 90+ female-only rugby league competitions
  • 68,000+ female NRL club members


  • A report into the future of rugby predicts global participation will double to reach 15 million by 2026, and that the surge in numbers will be led by players in the sevens ­format, particularly women.
  • The report, commissioned by HSBC, says women’s rugby is the fastest growing sport in the world, adding 500,000 players a year for the past few years.


  • Collingwood, the Melbourne Storm and Greater Western Sydney have been confirmed as the new preferred bidders for brand new franchises in Australia’s revamped netball competition.
  • The five-year broadcasting deal with the Nine Network and Telstra will ensure live free-to-air TV coverage of two games a week for the 2017 season.
  • Netball Australia confirms new eight-team division and bumper broadcasting deal.
  • Netball announced that its new national league would have a total player pool of $5.4 million (averaging out to $67,500 a player), taking a leap towards full professionalism.
  • Suncorp was on Monday unveiled as the new backer of the new league which boasts five established teams and three brand new clubs.
  • The new national league next year will see 80 players share a pool of almost $5.5 million and it is hoped the sport could become fully professional within five years.

Here is a wealth of information from news sites regarding the biggest stories around women in sport with a focus on the broadcast deals, sponsorship agreements, fan engagement, pay increases and the new superstars of these codes. This makes for a good read if you’d like to educate yourself on what is happening in women in sport in Australia.


  1. AFL women’s league compared to start of WNBA 20 years ago
  2. W-League broadcasting breakthrough indicative of progress for women’s sport
  3. Why the AFL is paying lip service to women’s sport
  4. Ellyse Perry says new women’s sport leagues in Australia will benefit female athletes across codes
  5. Netball Australia confirms new eight-team division and bumper broadcasting deal
  6. Women’s cricket gets $15 million investment ‘to keep pace with AFL, netball’
  7. Women’s AFL competition could spark turf war with netball, cricket, W-League and rugby
  8. Moya Dodd, 2016 overall winner of 100 Women of Influence on the power of sport
  9. Cricket Australia to stream women’s Big Bash online and Facebook
  10. Times are changing for the better in women’s sport, writes Natalie von Bertouch
  11. AFL women’s competition sparks arms race for best female athletes
  12. Sexism in sport: ‘If the surf turns to s**t, send the girls out’
  13. SA’s inspiring women are driving sport — and the state- forward
  14. Lauren Jackson out to force change in WNBL as competition stumbles
  15. Why GWS Giants recruit Jacinda Barclay is the Sonny Bill Williams of women’s sport
  16. Australia’s Charlotte Caslick named women’s rugby sevens player of the year
  17. Women’s sports turning professional needs television
  18. The surprising obstacles to getting more women into competitive sport
  19. AFL Women’s captain on the rise of women’s sport: ‘It’s about time’
  20. Australia’s rugby women win Oceania title ahead of World Series sevens opener in Dubai
  21. Super Netball: New name, new game, new era for netballers
  22. $15m deal for women’s cricket a ‘landmark agreement for Australian sport’
  23. Ellyse Perry hopes NSW Breakers will pave the way for women’s professional sport
  24. AFL women happy with improved pay deal
  25. AFL Women’s competition fulfils dreams, but requires big sacrifices for Giants’ Mai Nguyen
  26. Netball Aust announces deal with Suncorp
  27. All W-League players to be paid after pay deal signed
  28. NSW Breakers become first fully professional women’s team in Australia
  29. Ruan Sims: Cronulla Sharks deal is first paid women’s league contract
  30. Netball pay deal: Athletes set to earn double the previous minimum wage
  31. An entire women’s AFL team costs less than an average male player
  32. AFL women’s competition provides a pathway for young women into professional sport
  33. AFL national women’s league a chance to take the sport ‘next level’
  34. Australian netball launches onto the main stage with TV deal
  35. Women’s sport pay not in the ballpark
  36. ‘Vast’ gender wage gap still exists within billion-dollar sports industry
  37. Investment in women’s sport key to levelling the playing field
  38. Our Watch: Four top sport codes sign up to promote better attitudes about women
  39. Women’s elite sports prepare for challenge of new AFL league
  40. Top female players to earn over $100,000 in new Cricket Australia pay scheme
  41. Every WBBL match to be broadcast live
  42. CA, CommBank make landmark investment
  43. WACA appoints first female deputy chair
  44. TasWeekend: Women’s cricket on quest to bowl over new audience
  45. Sharks sign another Jillaroo to historic deal
  46. Sharks Sign Woman To An Official NRL Playing Contract
  47. Girls just want to play rugby league
  48. Sevens the driver to bring women and children into rugby
  49. Not everyone’s a fan of females on the footy field
  50. NRL Women in League round kicks off as female participation increases
  51. Women of rugby league earn stripes as female participation grows
  52. Women’s rugby league fastest growing sport in Queensland, empowers outback women
  53. Fox Sports’ Lara Pitt backs calls for more female rugby league callers
  54. Women’s AFL, NRL and rugby competitions are welcome and overdue, but why now?
  55. NSW Rugby League announce creation of a nine-a-side under-18s women’s league
  56. Women’s rugby league passes test with flying colours as Cronulla beat Dragons in historic nines match
  57. Why the professionalisation of women’s sport in Australia could put Olympic performances under threat
  58. Success of women’s rugby league seen in TV broadcast, sponsorships and public interest
  59. AFL Women’s payment terms agreed
  60. AFL Women’s teams reveal new-look playing uniforms
  61. AFL: Northern beaches’ pioneer signed to play in new national women’s competition
  62. AFL Women’s league reveals its Geelong-made new uniforms
  63. AFL Victoria releases control of local women’s leagues, will create more football jobs
  64. AFL Women’s League – the frequently asked questions
  65. FFA and PFA in talks over first collective bargaining agreement for W-League
  66. Australia wins recognition for women’s development as it expands its activity in Asia
  67. W-League could be next in line for much-needed pay boost
  68. EXPOSE: Players open up about W-League conditions

I even pulled a Word Cloud out of all of these articles and it’s clear to see the key words that dominate women in sport.

Women In Sport Australia Word Cloud

Women In Sport Australia Word Cloud

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