“There’s an opportunity for us now”: NRLW star Andie Robinson on the economics of women’s sport. By Lachlan Wills
Cronulla Sharks star Andie Robinson says corporate support and brand building are crucial for NRLW players to make a living.
The NRL’s women’s competition began in 2018 as a four-team comp.
The 2024 season commences in July with 10 sides playing nine home and away round before finals.
Robinson has told the Ministry of Sport Podcast that as part-time professional athletes, players rely on other sources of value in the marketplace.
“As a female athlete, it’s so important that you try to build your brand whilst playing footy, so that you build long-term connections, to leverage off your footy career, even post-retirement.
“A lot of our income as female athletes comes from brand deals and sponsorships, and ambassadorships, so to be able to use social media, that’s such a powerful tool at the moment, to build your brand, and your following, and fan engagement.”
Robinson says she takes a lot of inspiration from the Matildas and the example they have set on and off the field.
The Victorian Government’s landmark 2023 research report, The Value of You Can Be What You Can See, showed that for every $1 corporates spent sponsoring women’s sport, they received a return of $7.29.
It also showed that women’s sport delivered stronger brand awareness, brand consideration and customer conversion, than men’s sport.
The report did emphasise the overall gap that remains between men and women’s sport.
The value of value of women’s elite sport properties is at only 12 per cent of the level of men’s.
The NRLW continues to grow, with 7 million people tuning in to last year’s season.
“It’s something that, as a female athlete, we are starting to leverage. There’s an opportunity for us now,” Robinson said.
“Whereas not that long ago, there probably wasn’t that much of an opportunity. It was a bit harder to get sponsorships, but now with the increased visibility of female sport, there’s definitely that opportunity to leverage on it.”
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