The prize pool for this year’s Women’s World Cup has been doubled to $US2 million, while fans will be able to watch every ball of the tournament live for the first time, the International Cricket Council has announced.
The tournament gets underway in England in late June, with ten matches to be shown live by the host broadcaster, with the remaining 21 games to be live streamed by the ICC.
Broadcast details for Australian viewers are yet to be confirmed.
Seven pool matches will be televised alongside both semi-finals and the final - to be held at Lord’s on July 23 – while DRS will be introduced into the women’s game for the first time.
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The television broadcast will be covered with the help of 30 cameras, while the final will see a drone camera and a Spidercam deployed - something never seen before at Lord’s.
Australia will be looking to defend their 2013 title when the 50-over event gets underway on June 24.
The original prize pool for the 2017 tournament was $US1 million, announced by the ICC in 2015, but the ICC confirmed on Thursday that amount would be doubled, to $US 2 million ($AUD2.7 million).
It’s a ten-fold increase on the $US200,000 prize pool that was on offer for the previous World Cup in 2013, when Australia defeated West Indies in the final to claim their sixth title.
“The ICC Women’s World Cup is the pinnacle of the women’s game and as such the players should be rewarded appropriately,” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said.
“Two million dollars is the first step towards greater parity and recognition.
“The prize fund for the 2013 edition was just $200,000, and this announcement shows a greater level of commitment than ever before.
“The change will not happen overnight but the women’s game is crucial to the global growth of cricket."
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Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland said he was delighted with the ICC’s decisions.
"This demonstrates a welcome, long-term commitment to the global growth of the women’s game, and it recognises the opportunity presented by women’s sport.
"We have seen huge interest in our women cricketers here in Australia through the two seasons of WBBL, and part of the success of this league is that every game is available to fans through livestreaming. It is fundamentally important that Australian fans can see their women compete in the World Cup, the pinnacle of the world game.
"It is really important that our young girls can see their heroes play, and be inspired to play cricket themselves through their school or local club.
"We want them to aspire to play for Australia. Cricket is a wonderful game that takes our young people around the world.
“Cricket Australia is also pleased that the ICC is working towards prizemoney parity with the men’s game within 15 years. In our current pay offer to Australian players, Cricket Australia has committed to ensuring that prizemoney for the women’s ICC World T20 in 2020 will be the same as for the men’s WT20. We will make up the difference between the two prize pools.
"We have also promised prizemoney parity for our domestic competitions, both state leagues and Big Bash, from this summer.’’
Australian greats Mel Jones and Lisa Sthalekar will feature on the television commentary panel, alongside former England captain Charlotte Edwards, former India captain Anjum Chopra, Alan Wilkins, Ian Bishop and Sanjay Manjrekar.
The live streamed matches will also feature multi-camera coverage with commentary.
“There is undoubtedly an audience for it – there were almost 18 million views of highlights of the Women’s World Cup Qualifier earlier this year – and we need to grow that further,” Richardson said.
The ICC also announced it will launch a blueprint for growth of women’s cricket after the World Cup.
Australia's World Cup schedule
June 26: Australia v West Indies, Taunton
June 29: Australia v Sri Lanka, Bristol
July 2: Australia v New Zealand, Bristol
July 5: Australia v Pakistan, Leicester
July 9: Australia v England, Bristol
July 12: Australia v India, Bristol
July 15: Australia v South Africa, Taunton
July 18: First semi-final, Bristol
July 20: Second semi-final, Derby
July 23: Final, Lord's
Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes schedule
October 22: First ODI, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 26: Second ODI, Coffs Intl Stadium, Coffs Harbour
October 29: Third ODI, Coffs Intl Stadium, Coffs Harbour
November 9-12: Day-night Test, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
November 17: First T20I: North Sydney Oval, Sydney
November 19: First T20I: Manuka Oval, Canberra
November 21: First T20I: Manuka Oval, Canberra