What’s stopping consumers from watching women’s sports? Lack of coverage, not caliber of play

YouGov
June 23, 2021, 2:43 PM UTC

For most people around the world, the reasons they don’t currently engage in women’s sport are related to its lower overall profile, rather than the game or sport itself or how it’s played relative to men’s versions. That’s according to data collected by YouGov in 13 global markets. 

A newly released white paper by YouGov explores, among other things, how popular women’s sport is around the world, who its top stars are, what attracts its followers, and what deters others from watching. 

A plurality of global consumers (40%) cite a lack of media coverage as a reason why they don’t engage more in women’s sports, while a lack of knowledge about the teams and players (35%), and limited marketing (30%) are also significant barriers. 

The caliber of play is much less of an issue globally. Just 14% list slower pace as a reason not to watch, 19% say the skill level is not high enough and only 20% say games are not as physical. 

Views in the United States: Americans give the same reasons for not engaging in women’s sport in almost the same proportions as the global average. The biggest difference is to be found on production values, where Americans are a third less likely to say that the coverage of women’s sport is not high enough quality. But other than that, Americans, like the rest of the world, relegate skill differential, lack of physicality and speed of games to the lower end of the scale for reasons not to tune in. 

Views in the United Kingdom: Britons predominantly track the global average when it comes to reasons they don’t engage in women’s sport, with a lack of media coverage and knowledge about teams leading the way. However, they are much less likely than the global average to say women’s games are not as physical (12% vs. 20%).