WOMEN

IN SPORT 2015

AUGUST 2015

Women in Sport
2014 was the year when women’s sport really came to the fore in the UK: England
won the Women’s Rugby World Cup, women’s cricket and rugby turned
professional for the first time and, where three years ago there were none, this
time four women were on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist. 2015 has
gone on to build on this foundation; with the recent Independent’s 50 most
influential women in sport just the icing on the cake.
January saw the launch of Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign which aims
to break down barriers that prevent girls from taking part in grassroots sport. The
advertising went viral and has amassed over 8.6 million YouTube views to date.
The campaign has received widespread praise which was topped off by winning
the ‘Glass Lion: Lion for Change’ at Cannes in the inaugural gender inequality
category. Their success shone a light on female grassroots participation and will
hopefully show tangible results.

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The summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament in Canada continued to
celebrate women’s sport. The BBC’s coverage of England’s opening defeat
against France netted more than 2 million viewers; nearly double the highest
audience for the women’s European Championship in 2013.
This appetite continued throughout the tournament, particularly with the
continuing successes of the England team – their third place play-off against
Germany averaging 1.44 million viewers. The achievement of the team was
unsurprisingly a catalyst for viewers tuning in.
A recent Octagon Sports Panel survey found that 2 in 5 of those who followed the tournament did so due
to the team’s results. The momentous support for the sport has continued beyond the
tournament itself… the recent Women’s FA Cup final smashed the attendance
record with 30,000 spectators!

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It’s not only the viewing figures that tell a compelling story. England’s win in the
match against Germany has made them the country’s most successful senior team since the
men’s 1966 World Cup triumph. Successes on the field equates to increased commercial
activity with more and more brands looking to get involved with women’s sport.
Over the course of the last few months there has been significant momentum,
with sponsorships including SSE and the Women’s FA Cup, Bang & Olufsen and
the Ashes and Vitality and England Netball. As well as an increase in the number
of deals, it is noteworthy that many of them have been record breaking for the
governing bodies, and highlight the value delivered through sponsorship.

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Speaking at a recent advertising conference, the Football Association’s CEO
Martin Glenn said,

“My advice to [brands and agencies] is to get on the curve now because
it is only going to get bigger. Get onto that ride early on.”
Although he was focusing on the growth of
football in particular, his advice is something
which can be broadened out to women’s
sport in general which shows no signs of
abating.
56% of Octagon’s Sports Panel claim to be open to watching
more women’s sport in the future demonstrating that
the opportunity for brands to connect with
new audiences through Women’s Sport is
ever-increasing.

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BY MINAL MODHA

Senior Research Executive

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