Building and Maintaining an Audience for Women’s Sport in 2022

In 2022, women’s sport is still riddled with inequalities as it represents only 4% of all sport media coverage on the global stage.

According to a study compiled by Statista in 2019, a meagre 7% of the global $30 billion spent on sponsorship was directed at sportswomen and the women’s sport industry, with most board decisions made by men.

These statistics are staggering, despite the continuous rise of record audience and attendance figures for women’s sport events over the past few years.

Research into sport media exposure specifically in Europe paints an equally bleak picture as there is no increased media coverage in between Olympic years and World Championships.

The striking disparity has long been sustained on the belief that there is no audience for women’s sport, therefore broadcasters dedicate a lion’s share of on-screen time to men’s sport.

However, a well-publicised survey by Nielsen in 2018 showed that 84% of general sports fans were interested in women’s sport.

By looking at women’s sport without bias and putting the right investment in it, the media can play a major part in the growth of the women’s game.

“We, as public service media have the power to shape the agenda, to generate the discussion and give voice to people. If our audiences are not interested there is nothing we can do, but we can’t say we didn’t try.” – Joose Palonen, Yle Head of Sport

Practical steps to build and maintain an audience for women’s sport:

  • Get to know your audience and what type of content they want to consume. If you are aware of what they want, you would be able to generate insightful women’s sport content to grow interest in the women’s side of the game.
  • Strengthen your storytelling with inspiring and engaging content that your reader can relate to.
  • Enhance the experience by looking at how you present women’s sport and how it can positively influence your audience.
  • Share insights as to why women’s sport should be gaining support and viewed through reports on athletes’ success.
  • Introduce regular and more visible slots for women’s sport is essential in building and maintaining a loyal fan-base.
  • Embrace existing partnerships that are bringing about gender balance in sport through investment, which will encourage more corporates to do the same.
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