Katrina Touzeau is a former intern of the Women’s Sports Foundation, avid marathon runner and former member of the Australian Basketball Referees National Panel 1992-2012. Katrina has previously worked in community, state and national, international level peak sporting bodies, boards and events in Australia.
After seeing the impressive gains that women were able to make in the AFL in 2017, it was refreshing to realize that achievements in women’s leadership were not limited to a singular area of sport; we are witnessing a broadcast revolution as well.
In 2017, Kate Palmer began as CEO of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). Appointed in December 2016, Palmer was formerly the Chief Executive of Netball Victoria from 2000 to 2006 and Chief Executive of Netball Australia from 2007 to 2016. Palmer left a highly successful reign at Netball Australia where she oversaw a massive surge in revenue and a landmark pay deal for players. Her appointment made her the first woman in the role in the ASC’s 31-year history.
It was during Palmer’s reign that the ANZ Championship began. The competition, an inaugural Trans-Tasman competition, began between netball teams from Australia and New Zealand, provided a semi-professional competition for elite players from many Commonwealth countries. In 2017, as a result of changes to the competition and the addition of three new teams, a new league was formed and played during a 17-week season with a landmark five-year broadcast deal for increased coverage and more live content.
It has been refreshing to see women’s netball, as well as other sports, televised regularly on free-to-air major networks, in prime time, live and outside of an Olympic Games or World Championship events such as the Australian Tennis Open coverage in January. There have also been occasions this year when two major women’s sporting competitions aired live and concurrently on major Australian TV networks, giving viewers a choice of multiple world class sporting options to view.
The increased popularity with women’s sports has continued when a recent cricket match between Australia and England sold out with more than three weeks remaining before the clash. The Ashes series between Australia and England was on free-to-air TV on a main network channel. This move was a promotion as the first match saw a thrilling finish decided in the final over in Brisbane. Moreover, this milestone is significant given this is the first time tickets have been sold to women’s cricket in Australia.
With women’s AFL, netball and cricket all generating large crowds and success, it was now soccer’s turn. In September 2017, the Matildas (Australian National Soccer Team) played on home soil for the first time since winning the Tournament of Nations in the USA. The first match of their two-game series against Brazil was a sellout with over 16,000 fans in attendance. Fans were rewarded with a victory over Brazil, which had fielded their best team.
With the continued success of the Matildas and the promising growth of new leagues such as the AFL women’s competition, Aussie women in sports are certainly on the rise.