Formed in 2008, following the Australian women's national soccer team's most successful experience at a FIFA Women's World Cup and the call for the establishment of a professional women's league, the W-League was initially composed of eight teams: Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, and Sydney FC.. Seven of the eight teams were affiliated with men's Hyundai A-League clubs, and shared their names and colours to promote their brands. The eighth club was the Canberra-based Canberra United. Naming rights were secured by Westfield, a company co-founded by Frank Lowy. 
Since the inaugural season in 2008, the national public television network, ABC, broadcast one match a week per team. In November 2014, ABC announced a decision to cease broadcast of the league at the end of the 2014 season as part of widespread budget cuts. Ahead of the 2015–16 season, it was announced that pay-TV network Fox Sports would televise one W-League match a week. ABC also rejoined the broadcasting arrangement ahead of the 2015–16 season, being entitled to air one live match of the round in conjunction with Fox Sports.