Before the start of the FIFA World Cup, broadcasting channels and streaming services were fighting tooth and nail to land the quadrennial gig that is now in full swing in Qatar.
When the broadcasting rights were bagged, it was then a matter of utmost importance to put a team together of producers, pundits, presenters, and guests to fill the void between two matches or half-time and full-time shows. The primary aim was to draw more eyeballs to their respective channels and charge advertisers vast sums of money.
Keeping this policy in mind, the British public broadcast television network, ITV, launched in 1955 to compete with the BBC, gained more traction in this World Cup with just one big ace up their sleeve.
And no, it’s not better coverage of the match but a presenter who, with her impeccable knowledge and intelligent questionnaire, channelled big viewership towards ITV.
The woman in question is the 35-year-old English presenter and former Sky Sports reporter, Laura Woods.
An avid Arsenal supporter, Woods is leading ITV’s World Cup coverage while Ian Wright, Gary Neville, and ex-Liverpool star player, Graeme Souness are on the pundit panel for the broadcaster.
In an area where men dominate proceedings, Woods’s presence has come as a whiff of fresh air. But the journey has been long and arduous for Woods, who has lately been reaping the benefits of her hard labour.
Woods studied print journalism at Kingston University and credits her father and brother for her massive interest in sports. She started at Sky Sports as a runner, making coffees, and progressed through the ranks to become an editorial assistant. Post that, she slowly started to produce shows and started working on almost every sport that Sky Sports covered.
She covered darts competitions for the Sky Sports YouTube channel which lead to another gig covering the National Football League (NFL) and a kids’ show named Game Changers.
This eventually lead to her big break in 2018 when Woods became the pitch side reporter on Super Sunday, Sky Sports’ flagship program on Premier League with ex-Manchester United star Gary Neville.
Woods is one of the few presenters who have broken through the ranks through their sheer willpower and perseverance. Her camaraderie is well-known and accepted by many pundits alike. She cites Kelly Cates and Gabby Logan as her inspirations to pursue the field of sports media.
But few netizens only believe that Woods is on the job for her attractive features, and sexy legs and not because of her work.
These netizens were quickly shut down with people coming to support Woods and praising her for her calm takes and articulated thoughts on the game.
Woods is now slowly turning into a beacon of inspiration for young girls who wish to enter the arena of sports media. But for now, she is slowly turning into a big reason for ITV’s improved viewership of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.