New research from MUFG reveals growing consumer demand for watching female spectator sports. This could present significant opportunities for broadcasters, sporting bodies and sponsors over the next few years.
According to a poll of over 3,000 UK adults, almost two-thirds of the population (65 percent) think that men and women's sport should have equal sponsorship opportunities, while 59 percent believe men and women's sport should have equal coverage on television and radio.
The findings come as England top the Women's Six Nations table. Last year, the series attracted record attendances, up 20 percent on the previous year, while Sky Sports viewing figures increased by 98 percent in comparison with 2017.
However, broadcasters, sporting bodies and sponsors still have a long way to go in meeting this considerable demand for change.
Fewer than half of UK adults (45 percent) have watched a female-only sporting event on TV in the last year, with the average person viewing just two events within that time period. This is more than five times fewer than the corresponding figure for men's sporting events, which sits at more than 11 – or an average of nearly one event per month as opposed to one every six months.
The most recent figures from Women in Sport show that only 10 percent of televised sports coverage is dedicated to female sports.
When MUFG asked who should be responsible for tackling gender inequality in sport, most people say that sporting associations (38 percent) and bodies (37 percent) should take a leading role. Sponsors (32 percent), governments (25 percent) and broadcasters (24 percent) are also seen as accountable.
Holly Villiers, Head of Corporate Banking for UK, Ireland and Nordics at MUFG, commented:
"We've seen great strides in the business of women's sports over recent years, particularly in tennis, cricket and rugby. There is a long way to go, but the demand from consumers for more progress is clear.
"A spotlight must now be directed on women's sport and its premier competitions. This will generate tremendous opportunities for corporates to raise the profile of their brands, and to get involved in a relatively untapped but potentially lucrative market. MUFG is making steps into this market with its support for Laureus - the global movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good – most notably with the kick-off of the Power to Inspire campaign at the Laureus Sports Awards 2019."