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UK viewers want more women’s sport

52 per cent think the BBC should be doing more to encourage women in sport

UK viewers want more women’s sport on TV, a survey by Netfluential has found.

According to the findings, 52 per cent of viewers think the BBC should be doing more to encourage women to participate in sport; 50 per cent said the same for Sky, 44 per cent for ITV, 36 per cent for Channel 4, 33 per cent for Facebook, and 31 per cent for BT.

Meanwhile 71 per cent agreed that showing more women’s sport would “have a positive effect on girls and women taking part in sport; and 61 per cent of young women said they would “feel more confident if there were more people like me on TV.”

The report also revealed that 43 per cent of respondents had watched women’s sport in the last month, compared to 81 per cent for men’s sport. Viewers regarded lack of coverage as the main barrier to watching women’s sport, with 60 per cent citing the following reasons:

  • “There is not enough coverage of women’s sport on TV”
  • “The commentary is not very good”
  • The fixtures are not advertised enough so I do not know when they are shown”

Netfluential cites BT as leading the way in challenging this situation as the only mainstream TV provider to televise the FA Women’s Super League matches on its main sports channel, while the BBC offers these games online or via the red button.

BT Sport also covers 21 WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) tournaments each year and runs the annual BT Sport Action Woman of the Year awards, Netfluential noted.

Jeroen Verheggen, Netfluential CEO, said: “Our research points to a growing demand in the UK for women’s sport on TV, and in most cases, we can see that this need isn’t being met by the mainstream broadcasters.

“By taking a leadership role, BT has the advantage of not only connecting with sports fans today, but of reaching the next generation of fans and players – particularly younger female audiences. With the positive impact of women in sport being broadcast on TV, we’re looking ahead to see how other broadcasters will respond.”