The smart money is in women's sport

Nic Crowther
Wed 21 Jun

There can be little doubt that women’s sport is on the rise. Cricket and Australian rules are pushing ahead with new competitions. In response, the traditional sports of football and netball are changing the way they run their business.

This has also brought in competition for players, with many elite women ‘code-hopping’ for higher pay and different experiences. While this suggests both a small pool of players and a low barrier to entry for various sports, it has also meant that more people are taking notice.

And when that happens the money will always follow.



For many companies, this nascent market is a great space to establish a foothold. According to research firm Accenture, growth in women’s sport is projected to be well in advance of men’s sport. Sure, it starts off a low base, but a rapid rate of growth will see the genders become closer and closer over time.


(Source: Accenture)


The Women IN Sport (WINS) report projects the total market to reach $15.6 billion (with 3% growth over the next 15 years). The boys will enjoy around 44% growth in revenue over that time, while the ladies will see a 400% increase.

Where would you put your money for the best long-term results?

This is happening at the same time the gap in prize money is closing. Obviously, higher revenues mean athletes can be paid more, but often a cultural shift is required to see the results flow through in women’s sports.



The latest BBC Sport study states that 83% of competitions now remunerate men and women in equal terms. The study looked at “prize money for world championships and events of an equivalent standard only, does not include wages, bonuses or sponsorship. It found that 44 sports pay prize money, of which 35 pay equally.”

As a result of this rapid change, sponsoring women's sports might be a safe bet.