Switzerland's top women's league began the new season in August. This was a historic premiere, as selected games are now being shown live on TV for the first time since the women's league was founded. Will the new media attention mean further changes for women's football?
50 years after the first Swiss women's league was founded, the time has finally come: SRF, RTS and RSI will be reporting live on the brand new AXA Women’s Super League. This season, the stations will be broadcasting up to nine live games on online platforms and selectively on TV. And because the large stadiums have superior infrastructure for producing broadcasts, the games will now be held in the large stadiums.
"Finally there's a chance for people to get excited about women’s football in Switzerland."
Fixtures, results and video highlights from the AXA Women’s Super League can also be found on the new top league's homepage.
A few months ago, nobody would have expected nationwide reporting. As GC defender Naja Glanzmann says:
The former GC player Malin Gut also spoke in the spring about how disillusioned she was when she realized that only men play football on TV. "We played out the games from TV in the garden. We even practiced the celebrations, sliding along the pitch on our knees...And then I realized that I didn't need to practice that at all. Because nobody's watching us."
The women's league players are now suitably surprised, delighted and hopeful in their reactions. Even male colleagues:
"It's cool that women's football in Switzerland is increasing its profile and that people are talking about it more. It's definitely a step forward in terms of empowering women in our society."
"I never expected it." – Vanesa Hoti, FC Basel 1893
"I see it as a great opportunity for showing the wider public that women can also play very attractive football." – Eva Bachmann, BSC YB-Frauen
Tatjana Haenni, Direct of Women's Football at the Swiss Football Association (SFV) describes the expansion of SRG reporting as a "historic moment", a massive step in the right direction. The main aim for women's football is the professionalism of the sport: better conditions for the players and more support for the clubs. Haenni is confident: "Greater visibility will lead to more acceptance and finally to a higher profile for women's football. And from there, investment for sponsors, partners and clubs will be interesting."
What came first - the interest in women's football or broadcasting on TV? The Swiss are definitely becoming increasingly enthusiastic about women's football. And also much more than the average European, according to a study commissioned in 2019 as part of the UEFA Grow research program.
(Source: UEFA Grow study, 2019)
The change now being seen in women's football is based on community spirit and partnership-based commitment. Consequently, more and more men's professional clubs have been integrating the women's leagues over the last ten years. As a result, the women players ideally benefit from better quality trainers, better medical care and, for example, the same infrastructures as those of the men.
"We should also not underestimate the momentum that the partnership with AXA has brought in such a short space of time", stresses Dominik Erb, Head of Media for women's football at the SFV. "The SRG's commitment as the national broadcaster was only possible on that basis."