Female sports ‘untapped’ market opportunity

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The UK Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation is calling on sports governing bodies and private companies to seize the as-yet untapped female sports market, saying it would boost to individual sports and provide unexplored sponsorship opportunities.

By making just small changes, sports governing bodies could considerably increase overall participation in sport by both increasing take-up by women and girls and reducing the number of drop-outs, argued the foundation. 

In a 30 June briefing, it listed eleven “compelling reasons” for sports to take more account of the female gender. 

“As 51% of the population, women and girls offer the biggest untapped market” in the sector, meaning a rise in female sport could help boost overall funding for sports, it noted. 

One way forward, it suggested, would be for private companies to engage more in programmes centred around women as they are currently under-represented in sport. This could also offer companies a large unexplored market, it said.

Regarding funding, the foundation also commended the UK sports development agency’s example, citing its revamped strategy published last month. Indeed, the agency has threatened to withdraw funding from those National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and sports which fail to develop the girl’s and women’s game. Boosting female participation in sport “is not an optional extra but a vital part of what they [NGBs] will be required to do” the new strategy states.

Increased consideration of female sport could also help raise the overall positive profile of individual sports, the foundation noted. This could be done by welcoming women and girls to sports that are not traditionally considered female sports and by treating everybody fairly. 

Lastly, the foundation stressed the fact that “there is a growing interest in women’s sport in the press and on TV” and that sports promoting female athletes should therefore take advantage of the increased exposure.

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