From equal pay agreements to amazing comeback stories, record audiences and new media deals, women’s sports are in the spotlight now more than ever. While they often don’t receive the same level of attention as men’s sports, a new Nielsen Sports research project highlights untapped potential and new commercial opportunities for rights holders, brands and media.
A survey across eight key markets around the world (U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia and New Zealand) found that 84% of sports fans are interested in women’s sports. Of those, 51% are male, which confirms that women’s sports engage a gender-balanced audience.
Interest levels in the women’s versions of specific sports tend to be greater when men’s and women’s events are staged together often for example: track and field, tennis, triathlon, mixed martial arts and extreme/action sports.
Of the general population across the eight markets surveyed, 45% would consider attending a live women’s sporting event, and 46% said they would watch more if women’s sports were accessible on free TV.
Of those who said they had no interest in women’s sports, 38% said they hadn’t watched, but “could be interested,” revealing the potential market for rights holders and other stakeholders to engage those who aren’t currently following women’s sports.
Attributes associated with women’s sports demonstrate several of the values that brands should seek to associate with, further revealing potential for commercial growth in women’s sports. Specifically, respondents see women’s sports as more progressive and inspiring, less money-driven, more family-oriented and cleaner than men’s sports. Women also see women’s sports as even more inspiring than men do.
For brands interested in associating with women’s sports, it’s worth noting that three quarters of those interested in women’s sports can name at least one brand involved in women’s sports, and 63% of people say they believe brands should invest in both women’s and men’s sports.
For additional insights, download The Rise of Women’s Sports report.