Trend watch: The skyrocketing marketability of women’s sport

On 2 July this year, 11.7 million viewers* – over 50% of the available audience – watched the Lionesses fight for a place in the Women’s World Cup final. And every single one of them saw the red Nike swoosh on their strip.

The viewing figures made the match the UK’s most-watched TV event of 2019 up to that point: a clear signal (not that Nike needed one) that women’s sports are here, and they’re here to stay. Martin Glenn, the former chief executive of the Football Association, confirmed this, telling BBC Radio 4 that women’s football “has moved from being an interesting, Olympic-type sport to an absolute mainstream sport.”

The greatest thing since... golf?

In fact, according to a recent Nielsen report^, global interest in women’s football stands at around 16% of the population – the same as the interest in golf overall. The last time major golfing tournament The British Open was shown free-to-air on the BBC, it drew a peak TV audience of 4.7 million. That's less than half the Women’s World Cup 2019 semi-final.

Women’s sport, and particularly football, has clearly entered the big league.

Good reach, great value.

The audiences are huge, then, but the prices aren’t – at least, they aren’t yet. The last title sponsorship deal signed between the Premier League and Barclaycard, in 2013**, was worth £40 million a year. Barclaycard has recently become title sponsor of the women’s Super League for a fraction of the cost – just £10 million over three seasons.

By the sound of things, they’re going to get a lot from that ticket price.

Experience. Better.

Much like festivals, the crowds of passionate people at sporting events make them the ideal venue for a little experiential marketing. Or a lot of it. Get in touch to find out how your brand can make its mark at the UK’s biggest sporting events.


*Official BBC figures

^Women’s Football 2019, The Nielsen Company

**Since the 2016-17 season, the Premier League no longer engages a title sponsor

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