The number of fans attending elite women’s sport in the UK will pass half a million for the first time in 2018 according to proprietary data analysis by Two Circles.
Data-driven sports marketing agency Two Circles analysed ticketed UK sporting attendances since 2013 and found that the number of fans watching women’s sport* will increase 49% on 2017 to hit 682,000 in 2018. Since 2013, attendances for UK women’s sports have grown, on average, 38% year-on-year.
The growth has been driven by a huge increase in media coverage and awareness of women’s sport; the introduction of new, professionally-organised events across football, hockey, netball and rugby union; and the success of recent major international tournaments hosted on UK soil such as the 2017 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, which sold-out three games (a record for an international women’s cricket tournament) including the final.
On Saturday (10th March) Harlequins Ladies will hope to set a world record attendance for a women’s club match when it hosts Richmond in the Tyrrells Premier 15s at the Twickenham Stoop, while cricket’s Kia Super League, football’s Women’s Super League (WSL) and netball’s Vitality Superleague have all contributed significantly to the growth in attendances.
This year’s attendance figures have also received a boost from the Women's Hockey World Cup at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - the biggest hockey event ever hosted in the UK, which has already achieved several sell-out days over four months out – and 2019 will see women’s hockey drive further attendance growth with the introduction of the new Hockey Pro League.
Gareth Balch, chief executive of Two Circles, added: “Through our work helping clients understand what their audiences want from their sporting experiences, we are seeing a growing appetite for watching sport live and in-person. Fans will pay to watch quality, elite sport and the rights-holders perpared to invest in both women’s teams and events are reaping the rewards as interest in women’s sport continues to grow.”
*Not including events where men’s and women’s sport take place at the same time, such as multi-sex events and male/female double-header games