According to a study by the Women’s Sport Trust and data & insight agency Two Circles, Women’s sport in the UK could generate up to UK£1 billion (AUD$1.8 billion).
Entitled ‘Closing the Visibility Gap’, the study forecasts that revenue in UK Women’s sport will exceed triple the yearly UK£350 million it currently generates.
Despite being an undoubted growth industry, the report highlighted that the wider sports industry has underinvested in amplifying the visibility of female athletes. As a result, the ability of rights owners to capitalise on commercialising the rise in interest has been limited.
As was noted in the study, more than half of the revenue in UK Women’s sport is currently generated through Women’s football and tennis, with a majority (50%) of attention towards female athletes concentrated in one month of a year.
The study believes that the key to achieving the revenue forecast outlined in the report is to increase the visibility of and engagement with female athletes.
Chief executive and co-founder of the Women’s Sport Trust, Tammy Parlour, acknowledged the current upward growth of elite Women’s sport.
“Women’s sport has been on a strong growth trajectory. However, most sport played by elite female athletes still has a long way to go until it becomes commercially viable,” she said.
“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 results of the study showed that two-thirds of UK sports fans currently follow some form of women’s sport, although only 25% of those do so actively.
“We hope this research can play a role in supporting all sport industry stakeholders in this endeavour, 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,” Parlour added.
“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.”