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Game-changing: How this summer will transform women’s sport

By Published On: June 06, 2019 - Categories: Industry Insights OTT Sports

As the biggest FIFA Women’s World Cup yet kicks off in France, StreamAMG explores how this massive summer of women’s sport can translate into long-term growth.

On the eve of a sporting summer full of major events, athletes and broadcasters alike are predicting a step change in women’s sport. With governing bodies, broadcasters and brands investing in enhanced coverage and partnerships, this summer promises to shine a long-overdue spotlight on the women’s game in football and beyond.

The bumper schedule presents the best opportunity yet for women’s sport to break out from its niche and firmly establish itself in the hearts and minds of sports fans everywhere. The FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Vitality Netball World Cup, the Women’s Ashes Series; so many major sporting events in the space of a few months promises a treat for dedicated fans and new viewers.

Perhaps more significantly for sustained success, they provide a vehicle to connect with more fans than ever before, grow elite women’s sport and achieve new commercial heights. As we enter the packed summer months, StreamAMG explores the outlook for women’s sport, assesses the challenges and opportunities presented by increased coverage and considers how online video can help sustain growth.

Before we settle down to enjoy the show, let’s consider how the next few months will change the way fans, consumers and brands engage with women’s sport for good.

A growing appetite

Records are being broken in women’s sport with impressive regularity. This year in Spain 1.6m TV viewers watched the Copa de la Reina women’s football final, and 60,000 spectators packed the Wanda Metropolitano to see Atlético Madrid and Barcelona Women’s teams play, both world records. It’s clear that major women’s events can attract big crowds, even if the growth of regular attendances is relatively slow.

The key challenge is sustained audience growth, identified as vital to sponsorship growth by Women’s Sport Trust. Despite their growing prominence, the most recent figures show only 0.4% of sponsorships go to women’s sport. Although growth in average attendances for leagues is less clear cut, the number of viewers on TV, streaming services and social media is growing substantially.

The events of the summer promise to draw in more fans than ever. FIFA is aiming to sell 1.3 million tickets to the 2019 Women’s World Cup and reach one billion viewers on television. That's more than the men’s Cricket and Rugby World Cups, Wimbledon and the Tour de France. If these targets are hit, the buzz of the summer bonanza should translate into bigger audiences, greater visibility and the all important commercial opportunities.

Audiences are showing a clear appetite for more coverage; according to Nielsen Sports 84% of sports fans are interested in women's sport. But only 43% had recently tuned in according to a Netfluential survey, with most citing a lack of coverage or awareness rather than any objections to the sport on display.

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