Women’s sport can reach £1bn revenue by 2030 if it capitalises on commercial value

The study – called “Closing the Visibility Gap” – found that underinvestment in promoting female athletes and creating meaningful interactions for partners are limiting ability for women’s sports to capitalise on the commercial value

Last Updated: 21/04/21 12:07pm

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Women’s sport in the UK could generate £1bn per year by 2030 but requires increased visibility of female athletes to unlock its potential, according to a new study.

The revenue projections, released by the Women’s Sport Trust and data and insight agency Two Circles, are an increase on the annual £350m generated by women’s sport, through ticketing, broadcast rights and sponsorship sales.

The study – called “Closing the Visibility Gap” – found that underinvestment in promoting female athletes and creating meaningful interactions for partners are limiting its ability to capitalise on the commercial value.

“Women’s sport has been on a strong growth trajectory,” said Tammy Parlour, chief executive and co-founder of the Women’s Sport Trust.

“However, most sport played by elite female athletes still has a long way to go until it becomes commercially viable.

“To achieve long-lasting change, and for women’s sport to occupy a central role in our culture in the UK, the sports industry must widely recognise a social responsibility to building sport for all, and practically connect a vision for women’s sport to long-term commercial profit.”

The survey found more than 80 per cent of UK women’s sport fans believe big event and TV broadcasts were pivotal factors behind following women’s sport.

But more than a third of women’s sport only use digital channels to broadcast their events.

The research also found 12 per cent of women’s sports fans said action imagery was an important driver in prompting them to found out more about the sport.

Additionally, fewer than 30 per cent of the most prominent images on website and social channels of UK sport governing bodies feature female athletes.

Parlour added: “We hope this research can play a role in supporting all sport industry stakeholders in this endeavor, helping them present female athletes and teams in ways that resonate with fans, create meaningful interactions for partners, and build success for women’s sport overall.

“We believe the next decade will be a gamechanger for women’s sport and with some concerted focus on key areas such as visibility and data we can ensure it is not only commercially viable but sustainable for decades to come.”

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