(Reuters) – Making sure live audiences for women’s sport in Britain continues to grow after a predicted 50 percent rise this year is key to attracting greater sponsorship opportunities, according to UK Charity Women’s Sport Trust.
The organisation, which promotes women’s sport and gender equality, plans to encourage people to attend or watch female or mixed gender events as part of its effort to attract greater media visibility for female athletes.
“Consistent audience growth is the next frontier for women’s sport,” says Tammy Parlour, co-founder and joint CEO of Women’s Sport Trust. “Big live crowds and viewing figures feed the interest of both the media and sponsors.”
Women’s Sport Trust and broadcaster Sky this week launched the ‘#ShowUp’ campaign to encourage the nation to support women’s sport by watching, attending or playing.
“We’ve already seen some stunning figures for events like the Euros, ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, the Rugby World Cup and England Netball’s Commonwealth Games win,” Parlour added.
The number of fans attending elite women’s sporting events is set to touch 682,000 this year, a 49 percent increase from 2017, according to a study by sports marketing agency Two Circles.
Attendances have grown an average of 38 percent each year since 2013, the study added.
More than 4 million people watched soccer’s Euro 2017 semi-final between England and the Netherlands, while 1.94 million people tuned in to the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 final on ITV, according to market research firm Nielsen.
The Women’s Cricket World Cup, won by England, was watched by more than 1.1 million, according to data collected by Sky.
“These all prove that the appetite is there,” Parlour said.
“The aim of the #ShowUp campaign is to build on this momentum so that we get packed audiences throughout the sporting year from a local level through to those major competitions.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)