2022 has seen a steady rise in the popularity of women’s sports. Fans are breaking attendance records. Viewership numbers are steadily increasing. And it appears that young fans are the ones who are fueling the rise. All of this is according to a report called “Leveling the Playing Field” conducted by a data and analytics firm called National Research Group (NRG). The new report is available at the NRG.
Three main points emerged. Fans are paying more attention to women’s sports than they used to. Almost a third are watching more games than they once did, and as a result the broadcast rights market for women’s sports has enjoyed double-digit growth in most territories. Despite this momentum, there’s still a huge discrepancy in how fans approach men’s and women’s sports. Fans tend to see men’s events as more exciting and more competitive, and are willing to spend considerably more money on watching men’s games and buying merchandise from men’s teams. Women’s events can find an audience–when they’re given comparable airtime, funding, and media attention. This wave of momentum could result in a true breakthrough for women’s sports into the mainstream, but only if broadcasters, sponsors, and policy-makers are prepared to make the necessary investment.