Thursday September 28, 2023

Report: Women’s Sports Viewership, Interest Continue to Surge

  • Sports fans say they are watching more women’s sports than they used to over the past five years (30%) and over the past year (25%).
  • The increased interest is at least in part due to broadcaster investment.
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Women’s sports are winning over a lot of fans — but they still have a long way to go to reach something close to parity with the men’s games, according to a new study from National Research Group.

Per NRG’s Leveling the Playing Field report, 30% of sports fans say they are watching more women’s sports than they used to over the past five years, while 25% say they are watching more over the past year.

Those figures are both over double the number that say they are watching less women’s sports than they used to (13% and 12%, respectively).

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  • Much of that growth is being driven by younger generations, as 39% of Gen Z and 29% of Millennials say they are watching more women’s sports over the last 12 months.
  • Additionally, 40% of Black fans and 32% of Hispanic fans are watching more over the same time period.

The increased interest is at least in part a result of investment from media companies.

When asked why they watch more women’s sports, 41% said that it was because there are more women’s sports being broadcast.

In turn, the value of women’s sports broadcast rights in the United States grew from $36.9 million in 2021 to $47.7 million in 2022.

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However, even as their attitudes on women’s sports have begun to change, few fans are ready to fully commit their time and money to them.

  • Only 21% of sports fans actively follow any women’s sports leagues and only 9% say they’d be willing to pay to watch a women’s game.
  • By comparison, 66% of fans would be willing to spend money on a men’s game.
  • Additionally, the average U.S. sports fan would be willing to spend a maximum of $56.67 on a piece of branded men’s sports merchandise, but only $28.40 maximum for women’s sports.
  • 42% say they would never consider buying a piece of women’s sports merchandise regardless of price.

All of this said, fans are ready to keep supporting the women’s sports movement — as long as the proper investment is still there: 60% of fans believe sponsors should invest more money into women’s sports.

Further, 85% — including 79% of men — say it is important for women’s sports to continue growing in popularity.

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