January 10, 2020 Caitlin Rees

Viewing habits

It’s no revelation that men’s sport typically gets better attendance and viewership than women’s sport, often driven by high levels of male participation. Conversely, you might expect women to be the biggest advocates of women’s sport. But this isn’t the case. Women watching women’s sport, like women’s participation in sport, is notably low compared to men’s across the majority of sports. Our research found that

  1. 25% of women claimed to watch some of the 2019 women’s football world cup compared to 48% of men
  2. Overall, men over-index on watching the majority of women’s sports compared to women as detailed on the chart below

 

When you take into account that women have been predominately excluded from sport until relatively recently, the stats aren’t that surprising.

  • Women only started competing in the Olympics around 1900. In the 1904 St Louis Olympics only 12 of the 1066 athletes were female and they were only allowed to participate in ‘feminine’ sports.
  • The FA banned women’s football up until the late 1960’s describing female participation in football as ‘unsuitable’.

Sport has traditionally been a male dominated industry, defined, organised and promoted by men for men. Women’s sport has seen tremendous growth over the last few years, but women continue to face big obstacles.

Populus explores why more women aren’t watching women’s sport and what hinders their participation in sport today. In addition, we investigate how we can attract a wider audience of women and what opportunities this presents for clubs, governing bodies and brands today.

 

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