Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No money for women in sport? Big Deal

Cyclist Victoria Pendleton
Wondering why female sports in the UK fly below the radar? Could be it because just 0.5 per cent of sponsorship money goes to all-women sports?

A report launched this week "Big Deal? The case for commercial investment in women’s sport", found that 61.1 per cent of sponsorship funding goes to men’s sports with remainder going to mixed-sports.

Chair of Commission on the Future of Women’s Sport and former Paralympic athlete, Baronness Grey-Thomspon, said she finds this “depressing”. Having commissioned the report, she said:

“In just a few months, the eyes of the world will be on London 2012, the only occasion in our lifetime that we’ll be a global showcase for women’s sport in this country. It’s disappointing that more brands and rights holders haven’t seized the opportunity to benefit themselves and women’s sport, and help create a lasting legacy.”

Personally, I’d say “disappointing” is the least of the adjectives she could have chosen. Another survey – thank you to charity WSFF - showed that 61 per cent of those questioned would like to see more women’s sport, but advertisers just aren’t responding.

Some good news
That said, a small number of brands do get a ‘shout-out’ in the report, including Investec (hockey), Continental Tyres, Umbro, Vauxhall, and Yorkshire Building Society (soccer), Invesco Perpetual and Price Waterhouse Coopers (sailing), Fiat (netball), Samsung, Speedo, Hovis, BP, British Airways and Virgin (Olympic sponsorship for women athletes)

Chief Executive of WSFF, Sue Tibballs, said: “Lack of investment accounts, in large part, for the absence of a female sporting culture in the UK.
"Women’s sport is not widely promoted and its competitors are not being publicly presented as fit and healthy sporting role models to inspire women and girls."
So what’s the problem? 
The most worrying line, for me, came towards the end of the report: “The value of women’s deals recorded in the first half 2011 does offer a glimmer of hope, representing 1.5 per cent of the total market so far this year.”  1.5 per cent is hopeful?

We have a long way to go. Companies sponsor winners but how can the appeal of someone like Zara Phillips or Victoria Pendleton be translated into support for local eventers and cyclists?



Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

1.5%??? That's practically nothing. It's appalling, that's what it is.

My plan is to raise my three boys to FIX THIS by the time they have daughters! I've done a tiny piece of the work to promote women in sports, but honestly, how many generations will it take before we see significant change for women?

niamh said...

@Lisa - I hope your boys will be inspired from your example, a lot of the problem is ignorance really. And yes, gutting that number is seen as hopeful.