Revenue generated by women’s sport in the UK has the potential to hit £1bn a year by 2030 – up from £350m a year currently – with increased visibility of female athletes key to unlocking growth, according to a new study by the Women’s Sport Trust and data and insight agency Two Circles.
The study, titled ‘Closing the Visibility Gap’, found that existing interest in women’s sport is strong, with two-thirds of UK sport fans currently following some form of women’s sport. However, the sports industry has underinvested in making female athletes visible in ways that resonate with fans; in creating meaningful interactions for partners; and in building prestige for women’s sport overall.
More than 80% of UK women’s sport fans said that major events and TV broadcasts have been important factors behind following women’s sport, but it was highlighted that over a third (36%) of women’s sports are broadcast only via digital channels.
The study also found other areas of potential growth:
- Only 25% of UK sports fans who follow women’s sport do so actively
- Images of athletes in action are 12% more likely to prompt someone to find out more about the sport than images of athletes in a personal or entertainment setting
- Of major sports in the UK, netball and tennis are the only two that have more than 50% of female players who also classify themselves as fans
- Across sports played separately by men and women, the average gap between the percentage of known men’s and women’s ticket purchasers is 23% according to Two Circles benchmarks.
The full study can be downloaded here.