Women’s sport in the UK has the ability to generate £1bn in annual revenue by 2030 but needs the visibility to succeed, according to a new study.
The revenue is set to triple from the current £350m per year say the projections released by the Women’s Sport Trust and data and insight agency Two Circles.
But the research found the sports industry under-invests in making female athletes front and centre thus limiting rights owners’ ability to capitalise on commercialising growing interest.
“Women’s sport has been on a strong growth trajectory since our organisation was founded in 2012,” 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 to become 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 study called Closing the Visibility Gap found that more than 80% of UK women’s sport fans feel major events and TV broadcasts have been important factors behind following women’s sport.
But more than a third (36%) of women’s sports use digital channels only to broadcast their sport.
And fewer than 30% of the most prominent images on website and social channels of UK sport governing bodies feature female athletes – a discrepancy that even more marked for professional clubs in football, cricket and rugby.
Parlour added: “We hope this research can play a role in supporting all sports 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.”