business of women's sports

There seems to be nothing more intrinsically connected to the American spirit than our love of sports. We distinguish ourselves from other countries based on our passion for our beloved football, brand ourselves with the “pastime” of baseball, and religiously follow our favorite national or college basketball team. However, until recently these passions have been predominantly focused on one gender: male. Yes, it is true that the world of professional sports is a realm that is recognized as male. Yet, there is more to this story than testosterone and it may be a one that could be a powerful barging chip for the Fortune 500.

Women’s sports have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. The demand in women’s soccer alone had skyrocketed to an almost 300% increase. However, even with statistics like this women’s sports are still rife with disparities. In Division I schools, Women receive one dollar to every two and a half dollars in athletic opportunities that men receive. Considering that women make up over half of the student population in these schools the inequality seems glaringly obvious.  The stigma around women’s sports has been built upon preconceived notions of female inferiority and stereotypes surrounding women. This unstable foundation is quickly decaying and exposing opportunities for businesses to provide crucial opportunities and receive immeasurable benefits. 

One of the solutions to fixing some of the inequalities between women’s and men’s sports is media coverage. An increased media coverage means increased exposure to brand new target demographics. The opportunity for marketing in women’s sporting is almost heaven-like for anyone in the marketing business. Sponsorships are a highly lucrative and effective sales tool for companies. The ability to expand to new demographics is crucial to longevity of the brand and also for brand image as a whole. Studies report that over 20% watching women’s sports are more influenced to do business with a brand than that of male sport’s audiences. 75% of women’s sports viewers can accurately name and identify a product they saw during the game. 

However, less than 4% of sponsorship money goes to women’s sports. This is concerning both morally and financially for big businesses. With over 63% of people believing that brands should equally invest in each gender’s sport, there appears to be a disparity between consumer and producer. The issue of representation seems to be one that has been heavily debated over the years. Many businesses argue that the disparity between funding sponsorships for men’s and women’s sports is due to the visualization disparity in the media sector. 

This is actually a valid argument. One of the main reasons that women’s sports do not get recognition is because they receive a fraction of the “airtime” opportunities that men’s sports receives. If the coverage of women’s sports can be increased then the validity of the arguments becomes questionable. There is still a lot of work to be done in order to close some of the major divides between men’s and women’s sports. However, if the solutions can be met the future of both sports will be brighter.