The Economist ran an intriguing article in their last issue headlined 'Game, Sex, Match' looking at the growing interest in women's sports.
|Danica Patrick NASCAR Pic AP|
The main thrust is what we've been saying on this blog for years - success breeds money breeds success. It's finally happening too as the piece lists people like NASCAR driver Danica Patrick who took $9m in sponsorship last year alone.
Female American athletes won more medals at London2012 than the male competitors according to the piece, will be interesting to see if that affects the division of funding for Rio2016?
And here's something you might not know: "Women’s football is the fourth-largest team sport in England, measured by participation (after men’s football, rugby and cricket)."
Unfortunately the reality behind these stand-outs is less money, less sponsorship and startlingly less media coverage than for male sports. To be fair the piece cites ESPN and SKY on their much improved coverage but overall in American women's sports gets just :"1.62% of sporting airtime on big networks"
However the analysis is positive for the future, with another curious nugget being the growth of male fans for women's sports. That's really exciting as far more men watch sport anyhow than women, so to get them shifting their attention over is important. And to be honest, most female athletes don't care if there is a sexual element to that or not - bums on seats is what counts IMHO.
Thanks to Amber Schlaefer for drawing my attention to this piece. You can read the full article here at Women in Sport Game Sex Match on The Economist website.