Women’s sport: inching towards the UK media mainstream

Report Overview

Women’s sport: inching towards the UK media mainstream

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Women’s sport: inching towards the UK media mainstream
Media coverage of women’s sport escalated this summer thanks to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which ignited national interest. The Lionesses attracted an exceptional peak TV audience of 11.8 million for England’s semi-final match against the USA
Still, coverage of women's sport remains minimal outside of major events: only 4% of printed sports articles reference female athletes. Quality press are leading the way—the launch of Telegraph Women’s Sport being the prime example—but the popular press are yet to follow
Freely-accessible coverage will generate greater interest and audiences for women’s sport, but continuous investment from all media will be needed to fulfil its potential


Media coverage of women’s sport in the UK

Broadcasting coverage

  • TV coverage is up across the main events
  • Audiences are growing, but from a low base
  • Audiences skew male

Press coverage

National newspapers’ print coverage

  • A step-change in 2019
  • The Olympic boom

Online press coverage

Case study: Telegraph Women’s Sport (TWS)

Broadcasting/media rights

Appendix: Methodology

Live broadcast coverage

Press coverage

  • Newspapers covered

List of charts/tables

Figure 1. TV audience gender split comparison

Figure 2. Total hours of live TV coverage of Women's World Cups since 2010

Figure 3. Selected women’s competitions with low average audiences

Figure 4. Coverage of women’s sport by national newspaper, 2019

Figure 5. Press coverage of women's sport by sport, 2019

Figure 6. Press coverage during the Summer Olympics versus the year after

Figure 7. UK publishers’ online sections for women’s sport

Figure 8: Top 50 most shared articles on social media, July 2018-July 2019

Figure 9: Selected women’s sports competitions analysed since 2010