Solve This Division in the Sporting Industry
From the time we are old enough to walk, many of us find ourselves inexplicably thrown into a sport by our parents. Whether it was Little League or flagfoot, gymnastics class or ballet, sports seem to be a passion woven in the DNA of America. As a child, sports are a haven for both genders. Though separated by gender, many underage teams have equal representation in almost every sport. So why doesn’t this translate into the professional world of women’s sports?
For the majority of professional sports history, the televised and radio broadcasted concept has been dominated by male sports teams. It wasn’t until recently that you could even find a women’s sporting event outside of the Olympics. Even now, though we have come a long way, there are only a few women’s sports that are fully televised. Access to media is one of the largest obstacles that the mainstream integration of female sports faces. Representing over 40% of all athletes, female sports only garner 4% of media coverage nationally.
2019 held a flagship moment for women’s sports media coverage. Interest in women’s soccer skyrocketed when the 2019 Women’s World Cup was aired. This broadcast broke all kinds of viewership records for women’s sports and elicited interest for women’s sports as a whole.
This event catapulted women’s sports into the spotlight which brought on questions about the obvious and glaring offensive differences in pay between male and female athletes. With women athletes making only 63% of what their male counterparts bring in, the national sports organizations were bound to get criticized. Luckily, this criticism is being used to enact lasting positive change in the world of women’s sports. While it is true that there are fewer people interested in women’s sports, the potential fan base still encompasses millions of people. These are people who haven't gotten the opportunity to fully invest themselves into women’s sports because they have been denied access to them through lack of female sports coverage.
The lack of coverage also translates into one other very important thing in the world of sports: sponsorships. Because women’s sports are given less access to media coverage they miss out on valuable chances on obtaining sponsorships.Sponsorships are not only crucial to revenue for sporting leagues, but they are also highly effective strategies for companies to expand their target demographics. Without these opportunities both women athletes and companies miss out on millions of dollars in revenue. In fact, businesses only give 4% of sponsorships to women. This is concerning because it is proven that sports that have both women and men in them, such as track and field, have a high potential to generate revenue for a sponsor.
This should be a no-brainer for a company, however, because it is not a “standard” sport they hesitate to put money into it even though they would see a better return. This highlights the dangerous and toxic psychology that we have bought into when it comes to sports. By valuing men over women we are not only devaluing the effort that female athletes put into their profession but we are also doing a disservice to our economy.
In order for us to repair some of the damage that has been done to the industry that is women’s sports, we have to be willing to admit some of our own fallacies. Yes, we messed up but it is more important that we try to fix our mistakes. Recognizing that we have made errors when it comes to the divide in men’s and women’s sports is the only way that we can begin to solve the problems. The following infographic explains more...
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