Women’s sport is a promising investment, and despite the popularity and importance of sport, women’s access to regular sports practice and to management positions in sports organisations is still extremely limited in many countries.
Because of the rigid format of male sport, the calendar has no space for new competitions. This is partly why the ‘still to be’ untapped market of women’s sport, has such enormous potential.
In the UK, women’s sport has the potential to produce £1 billion of revenue per year by 2030. A figure almost three times the amount it generated in 2021.
So, what is going on?
There is the obvious increasing demand for more women’s sport. This is especially true for young demographics. In fact, YouGov—a British international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm found that 44% of sports fans from ages 18 to 24 prefer watching women’s sport. That figure, however, could not contend with the 84% in the over 55 age group that prefer men’s sport.
According to new research, women’s sport may be just as fruitful a long-term investment as men’s sport is.
Data analysts and Nielsen Sports, a leading sports intelligence & measurement company, say it is because fans of women’s sport are more likely to advocate for sponsors and buy the brands’ products. Men’s sport has many investors all competing on returns, and it has already proved a successful format. What makes women’s sport a terrific opportunity is that it can be innovative without needing to compete with its male counterpart.
Sponsors are aware of this
Across FIFA, UEFA, and World Rugby, sponsorship investing in women’s sport increased by a whopping 146% last year. The values of some of these assets are priced competitively in comparison to similar men’s sport assets. Investors and sponsors are realising this and recognising the potential. Of course, when we are speaking of business, you must remember that it has taken years for men’s sport to become the huge phenomenon it is, and it required a steady and consistent investment flow to turn it into what it is today.
For anyone who knows their history, men’s sport in general is not new, nor is it a phenomenon. The gladiators of yesterday are the titans of professional sport today (minus the swords, and death being the conclusion for one side rather than a trophy). The ‘downward pointing thumb’ of Caesar signaling a ‘fait accompli’ today has also been replaced with the ‘thumb down’ of Facebook and You Tube, where everyone plays Caesar.
Things have changed dramatically. Women’s sport is on a fast trajectory to catching up with the men, so just as with men’s sports, the focus must also be on a medium to long-term investment. This then ensures opportunities are not missed, and all are capitalised on.
It is important for investments to be well positioned to guarantee returns.
If female athletes are supported and their sport receives higher levels of exposure, with higher levels of investment, women’s sport leagues will be able to allocate the money to marketing and brand elevation initiatives. They can also devise new ways of generating more revenue.
The UEFA Women’s European Championship has already helped boost interest in women’s football. Without doubt, the perception of women’s football is also changing, and England’s Lionesses are a major part of that shifting sport landscape. Top earners in England are making around £200,000, and star players are increasingly being offered endorsement deals with brands like Pepsi and Gucci.
Euro 2022 was the first time the women’s league were offered their own separate sponsorship.
Nielsen Sports analysts have been reported to say, this sponsorship was a good financial decision. Because high-profile names like Heineken and Visa were attracted, UEFA’s revenue stream increased significantly. Evidently, when UEFA and the FA back and invest in women’s sport, the results are visible.
Once fans become a part of the bigger picture and are more invested in the players and rivalries, this will drive competition and ultimately, investment. If targeted properly, there can be enormous potential. And the same applies here as any good investor will already know – you’re in it for the long term. Patience is required for returns to start coming in.
Women’s sport is a promising investment, and it can do at least one thing men’s can’t, experts say: Get bigger!