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Women’s Sport Records 33 Million Viewers In UK In 2021

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Women’s Sport Records 33 Million Viewers In UK In 2021

A new report from the Women’s Sport Trust has revealed the UK has set a new broadcast viewership record for women’s sport, with 33 million people watching domestic women’s sport in 2021.

Women’s cricket, through The Hundred cricket tournament, and women’s football through the Women’s Super League (WSL) led the way for women’s sport in the UK, with both combining to bring in almost 11 million new viewers.

For the WSL, 5.9 million new viewers had not watched any other women’s sport in 2021 before watching the WSL, while for The Hundred, this figure was 4.9 million, with 71% of viewers watching other women’s sport after their initial contact with women’s sport.

Women’s Sport Trust CEO and co-founder, Tammy Parlour, said the free-to-air broadcast deals held by women’s sporting competitions in the UK had an immense impact on the figures, with 19 million new viewers of women’s sport coming from free-to-air broadcasts.

“The importance of free-to-air, alongside Pay-TV coverage, in bringing new audiences to women’s sport should not be underestimated,” Parlour said.

“Domestic competitions such as The Hundred and the Women’s Super League are the perfect gateway to viewing more women’s sport and I look forward to seeing the impact other major international events this year will have on future viewing figures.

“We know how important these major events are in growing viewership figures but we want this growth to be sustainable, driving greater habits amongst audiences, to ensure women’s sport continues to be visible, viable and unstoppable.

“This report also highlights the need to consider how decision makers can help facilitate the growth of women’s sport by considering its strategy of how to use digital channels to reach new audiences, as Sky Sports have done with their netball coverage on YouTube, and use social media to build fandom around both athletes and teams.

“And be it enhancing the scheduling of women’s sport, to give more prominent broadcast slots and better onward journeys for viewers, including signposting to other women’s sport content, or reducing some of the barriers faced by the media in trying to tell women’s sport stories, this report highlights significant opportunities for growth in the coming years,” she said.

Women’s cricket drew 41% of total viewing hours of women’s sport in the UK, with women’s football bringing in 39%, with 25% of women’s cricket viewers not watching any men’s cricket in 2021, and 6.2 million people who watched live WSL matches did not watch an English Premier League game on TV.

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