Women’s Sport Still Has Huge Potential For Investors
There is still huge potential for growth in women’s sport if investment is targeted in the right way, but investors may need to be patient to achieve returns, according to a new joint report from The Sports Consultancy and accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.
The report, which launches to coincide with the UEFA Women’s European Championship, finds that in many ways investment in women’s sport could be a better long term bet for investors than men’s sport.
Women’s sport is still in an early stage in its development cycle and can therefore innovate without having to compete with inflexible established successful formats and is likely to be free of complex commercial structures which can limit growth.
Recent research shows growing demand for women’s sport, particularly among younger audiences. A survey from YouGov found that 44% of global sports fans aged 18-24 preferred watching women’s sport over men’s compared to only 16% among the 55+ age group.
A report by Nielsen found that unbundled women’s sponsorship investment across three of sports biggest rightsholders – FIFA, UEFA and World Rugby – rose by 146% in 2021.
The Women’s Sports Trust recently estimated that the annual revenues associated with women’s sport will grow to £1bn by 2030, up from £350m in 2021.
Kirsten Sibbit-Johnston, Associate Director from The Sports Consultancy said: “This month’s UEFA Women’s European Championship is likely to provide a real boost to interest in women’s football – and women’s sport more widely.
“It’s clear that there is a huge untapped market particularly among younger generations, and indeed, we could now be on the cusp of a huge investment wave.
“However, investment needs to be targeted to grow the sport – by supporting female athletes, increasing professionalism and driving up exposure. It’s also about building new ways in which fans can engage with the personalities, characters and rivalries that really drive passion in competitive sport.
“The biggest returns will come to those who invest across the women’s sport ecosystem buying themselves a greater share of influence and the ability to set a direction of travel for the sector.”