By Zac Cornell
It is widely acknowledged that there is less media coverage of women’s sports and less money put towards promotion and marketing of women’s leagues. The market intelligence firm Sports Innovation Lab wants to change that. The firm believes that in reality there is a tremendous amount of interest in women’s sports and has launched “The Fan Project” to increase investment in and media coverage of women’s sports. The project, which is supported by major leagues including the WNBA, NWSL, WWE, LPGA, UFC, as well as organizations Positive Coaching Alliance and Goal 5, will research and compile statistics and data about fans of women’s sports to prove market value and help illustrate to brands and media why supporting women’s sports would be a smart business investment.
Sports Innovation Lab CEO and 4X Olympic Medalist Angela Ruggiero explained, “The same statistics around the high engagement and tremendous interest but lack of coverage and lagging investment in women’s sports continue to permeate the industry with zero impact.” She continued, “With The Fan Project we’ll be able to finally give those responsible for investing in broadcast rights and sponsorship of women’s sports data they simply can’t ignore.”
In 2019 Australia saw interest in women’s sports rise almost 50% as a result of increased TV coverage of women’s sports. The increased exposure of top female athletes also led to a rise in young girls engaging in sports. Clearly more money and promotion of women’s sports has a powerful and positive impact on the next generation of female athletes.
In order for The Fan Project to evaluate the value of women’s sports, they need sports fans to download and share their social media archives which will reveal what sports the fans are interested in, what they watch, and what they buy. The data will be kept anonymous, with personal details automatically scrubbed when people upload their data by Sports Innovation Lab’s technology. The more fans who participate, the more accurate and successful the report on the business potential for investing in women’s sports. The project hopes to be able to publish a report by this summer.
Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer told Beyond Sport, “In 2015 our audience started a movement on social media using #GiveDivasAChance that trended worldwide for three days and hastened what WWE now calls the Women’s Evolution, creating equal opportunity for our female Superstars. The numbers and the sentiment from fans show there is a clear market for women’s sports, and it is up to brands, networks and media to invest and help move the industry forward.”
You can participate in The Fan Project by clicking here: https://thefanproject.co/