On Monday it was announced that NAB would no longer sponsor the AFL pre-season competition. NAB has held the naming rights of the pre-season competition since 2006 but are now moving forward to sponsor the inaugural AFL Women’s competition.
A bold move for such a large corporation and a huge coup for supporters of women’s football and the future of women in sport. Not only does this show that women’s sport is a thing worth sponsoring but it reflects the attitude towards it by many Australians – it’s happening and we are ready.
NAB sponsors just about every little detail of the AFL and has the naming rights for the following things: NAB AFL Auskick, the NAB AFL Women’s League, the NAB AFL Women’s Rising Star, the NAB AFL Rising Star program, the NAB AFL Trade Period, the NAB AFL Draft and the NAB AFL Women’s Draft. They also produced the best sports ad (maybe) EVER.
NAB has been associated with the AFL for 14 years and is committed to growing the game – at the moment, this means women. NAB’s chief executive Andrew Thornburn said “We don’t just sponsor football, we grow it, and we want to make it a better game for all Australians”. NAB also partners with the W-League and the Matildas.
It’s not just NAB that is behind the women. Priceline will sponsor the Western Bulldogs women’s team, CGU will sponsor the Collingwood women and countless other companies have pledged their financial support for the league. So why aren’t the women getting paid well?
The majority of women’s AFL players will be earning $5000 for the 8-week 2017 season. They also will not be given private health insurance, something that is just a given for their male counterparts. Erin Riley wrote a really great article about the pay dispute for women here – she’s spot on about what most people want from the league. There’s no way a first year women’s player is going to be earning as much as Buddy Franklin – but pay them enough to live on. Salary discussions are still happening, as are a lot of details about the league. Let’s all (moana) hope the powers that be take all this criticism into consideration.
— Erin Riley (@erinrileyau) August 30, 2016
Earlier in the year, the women’s exhibition match was broadcast on TV reaching a peak 1.05 million viewers. A report into sport and gender in Australian media for the Australian Sports Commission found that only 8.7% of sport shown on TV in Australia was women’s sport. Women’s participation in sport around Australia is growing exponentially but it’s not shown on television. When it is, however, ratings are good. So why not show it?
Spirits are high for sports fans and we are all looking forward to the AFL Women’s competition next year as well as the W-League this year and the brand new Suncorp Super Netball in 2017. The future is bright for women, we just have to support them.