International Women's Day: Sioned Dafydd

4th March 2019

In the lead up to International Women's Day on March 8, we will profile five women involved in five different aspects of life at Swansea City. We start off by speaking to Sioned Dafydd, the host of the club's SwansTV Live coverage.

Little did she know it, but Sioned Dafydd’s career path had been paved long before the penny dropped.

She had been a Swansea City season ticket holder since a child, and her father had worked in the broadcasting industry for decades, but it wasn’t until a certain press conference that she put two and two together – and set herself on the way to her ‘dream job’.

“It’s funny when I think back because my main passion was watching the Swans,” she says. “My dad, meanwhile, was working as an outside broadcast director for sport for the likes of BBC Wales and S4C.

“I remember going to work with him a few times when I was really small. Myself and my sister saw how he worked, so the seeds were sown then without me knowing.

“I was quite late in realising what path I wanted to take.

“Originally, I was only going to do Welsh, and at the last minute I incorporated media into my degree.”

That change of decision occurred thanks to a trip to the Liberty Stadium to watch a pre-match press conference.

“I was on work experience at the Evening Post and it was so exciting to be part of that press conference,” she says with a smile.

“Garry Monk was the manager, and it was the moment that made me realise that I wanted to take the media route.

“I was fortunate enough to meet Ceri Barnett, who works for Barn Media, and Fran Donovan at Premier League Productions, and I shadowed them quite a bit during press conferences and pre-match interviews, which gave me a real appetite for the business.”

After studying at Bangor University, Sioned completed a Masters degree in sports broadcasting at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Not only did the move from north to south Wales mean she was closer to home, it was also a huge step forward on a professional front.

“As my Masters only took up a few days of my week, I contacted the Swans’ head of media Jonathan Wilsher to see if there were any opportunities coming up.

“I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to film Swansea City Ladies' games, edit them and add interviews for the website.

“A few months later the club trialled a match day feature on Facebook Live, so I hosted that and spoke to former players and introduced the team news. I got to interview Michu last season and it was the best day of my life!”

The success on Facebook Live led to bigger things.

This season saw the creation of SwansTV Live – a club channel screening live Swans matches in the Championship to fans around the world along with providing audio coverage of FA Cup and Carabao Cup ties.

And so came the next opportunity for Sioned, who gets the thoughts of special guests before and after games along with bringing half-time analysis.

“Facebook Live proved to be a little egg that hatched and led to our SwansTV Live show,” she reflects.

“It’s a dream job because I’m presenting a live show for the club I love and working with great people behind the scenes who put the show together.

“As a fan, it is great to work with the likes of Lee Trundle, Leon Britton and Andy Robinson because these were players I grew up watching.

“I actually have a photo of me and Trunds during the Vetch days – he was a hero of mine, now he’s a colleague!”

From Puerto Rico to Papau New Guinea and Suriname to the Soloman Islands, each Swans fixture is screened around the globe.

And Sioned is at the heart of it.

“It’s crazy to think we are live around the world and fans can watch the Swans no matter where they are,” she says. “It doesn’t seem too long ago I was at the Vetch watching the Swans with a few thousand fans.

“I hope everyone enjoys the show - it’s our first season doing it, so I’m sure it will get better and better.

“On a personal note it’s a real privilege to have this role at the club.”

It is a role which has changed progressively within the industry in recent years.

Seeing a female presenter, reporter or pundit was a rare sight in the elite of sports broadcasting. But that has changed considerably in the past few years.

“Jacqui Oatley was the first woman I watched on TV that inspired me,” adds Sioned, who spent time working at the Commonwealth Games in Australia last year for Team Wales’ media contingent.

“Jacqui was the first female to commentate on Match Of The Day, and that was a huge step for women in the industry.

“There are more opportunities out there now.

“I look at the World Cup in Russia last year and aside from a female presenter there was Alex Scott and Eni Aluko on the panel as pundits, which hadn’t happened before.

“As a woman that was massively encouraging to see.

“Hopefully, in 15 years’ time we won’t be having this conversation.

“It would be great to see women covering men’s football and vice versa, so that it can just be football and that’s the norm.”