The last 18 months to two years has seen a groundswell of support for the advancement of Women’s sport in Australia and elsewhere in the world. The Women’s Football World Cup Final was the most watched Football (Soccer) game in US history (nearly 27 million). The Women’s Big Bash League, in its inaugural season posted extraordinary viewership on Australian free-to-air television, demanding an upgrade from a secondary to the primary network channel.
Most recently, the Matilda’s Australia’s Women’s Football team qualified for the Rio Olympics with a professional, clinical campaign in Japan. Superb viewing, the matches were broadcast live on free-to-air via the Seven Network’s secondary channel, 7Mate. Credit to all involved. The content was slickly presented. It’s hard to argue that there isn’t some momentum building behind Women’s sport.
The opportunities keep on coming too. The Australian Football League will continue to push its Women’s League concept throughout 2016. Of course, the Rio Olympics will also showcase outstanding female (and male) sporting talent too. While it is apparent Australian professional Netball will benefit from three additional teams in 2017.
Momentum plus opportunity. The time is now for sport to articulate the commercial case for its Female teams and athletes. No one sport, sport team or sportsperson deserves a place within the professional sporting landscape. The beauty of sport is that we are all free to enjoy it, whether that be through participation and consumerism. That though doesn’t translate to the talent always getting paid handsomely to put on the show.
The short term view would be to demand more coverage. To demand corporates to support. Those inside the industry understand that won’t generate a legacy for the sports, nor a return to the commercial sector, whether that be broadcasters or sponsors. Brutal as that may be.
The time now is perfect to (continue, or start to) develop the compelling commercial proposition that positions the key properties and assets within Women’s sport. Profile the consumers and their engagement with sport. Who is interested? Who is watching? What are they seeking? Understand the market. Find alignment between the properties and assets to brands and their objectives.
The glass ceiling is cracked. Plan to smash through it.