The Future is Female (Sports)

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The Future is Female (Sports)

A newly released Nielsen survey (51% of those polled were male) indicated that 84% of sports fans (across 8 key global markets including the U.S. and U.K.) hold an interest in women’s sports. While interest in watching female competition is greatest when tethered to a male sporting event (think: MMA, tennis), 45% of those polled said they would consider attending a women’s sporting event and 46% said they would watch women’s sports more regularly, if they were more readily available on broadcast television (i.e. not an OTT service). Those supportive of women’s sports say they’re “more progressive and inspiring, less money-driven, more family-oriented and cleaner than men’s sports.”

Howie Long-Short: For all the talk that the average (see: male) sports fan isn’t interested in the women’s game, Nielsen’s gender-balanced survey base would seem to indicate otherwise; as would the 150 million fans who tuned in for UEFA Women’s Euro ’17 and the 51,000+ who showed up to watch the Liga MX Femenil final. Shares of Nielsen Holdings (NLSN) declined 25% on news Buy unit (think: data service) Q2 revenue declined -4% (to $789 million). NLSN will report Q3 earnings on 10.25.

If you (a sports league) build it (a fan base), they (the sponsors) will come. FC Barcelona is a good case study, as the club recently signed the most lucrative sponsorship deal in women’s pro sports history with Stanley Black and Decker (SWK). The 3-year pact (begins in ’18-’19), makes the tools and household hardware retailer the first main jersey partner in FC Barcelona women’s history. In mid-September, Stanley Black & Decker spent $234 million to acquire 20% of MTD Products (see: lawn and garden care power equipment). Shares hit a 6-month high on September 21st ($154.36), but have steadily declined (-15%) since; they’ll open at $130.92 on Friday October 12.

Fan Marino: It’s been announced that beginning with the 2019 season, World Surf League controlled events will offer female competitors prize money equal to that of their male counterparts; they currently earn just 50% of what the men take home ($100,000) for a World Tour win. While the progress is noteworthy, it’s should be noted that the WSL only made the decision to revamp its prize pool after a photo of a male surfer posing with a check 2x the size of the female’s next to him caused an uproar.

It’s not just the pay that is getting better for female athletes, in the NWSL their beginning (i.e. some teams) to receive better facilities (see: Utah Royals FC’s $1 million locker room) and medical treatment (see: Orlando Pride’s traveling masseuse) too; a far cry from the ice baths Sky Blue FC is taking in garbage cans. Interested in catching a NWSL match? A&E carries the Saturday Game of the Week on Lifetime.

Fun Fact: Did you know? The USWNT ’15 WC Final match was the highest rated soccer game in U.S. history.

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