The French failed at the European Championship, but in economic terms, this competition is increasingly successful. Why is women’s sports now such a good business?
Advertising revenue and TV viewers are expected to rise in the 2022 FIFA Women’s Euro final. UEFA has sold the rights in 195 countries and is expected to generate €60 million, four times more than the previous edition.
Visa, Adidas, Nike and Heineken are some of the most active sponsors. Barclays Bank has agreed to fund the British Women’s Football Championship for three years, injecting 40 million euros, the same amount it invested twenty years ago in the men’s championship.
Investors take women’s soccer seriously. However, the difference in the amount invested shows that there is still a long way to go compared to the men’s tournaments. Investors are beginning to position themselves in a promising sector that is still underfunded. Promising because their female sports fans are seen as more engaged than their male counterparts and therefore willing to spend more money on merchandise.
TV money machine
The European Championship quarter-final matches, between the French and the Dutch, drew more than 5 million French viewers. In handball, the World Cup final that the French lost last December had the same audience as the men’s final at the Olympics, which the men won.
Audience records have been broken in all sports, such as last December’s Cricket World Championships in New Zealand.
Qatar’s BeIn Sports channel decided to focus more on the champions by broadcasting the three major summer events for women in the Middle East and Africa, namely the Africa Cup, the European Championship and the French Tour.
According to a survey conducted in the United Kingdom, people under 55 years of age are the most motivated. Additionally, women are attracting a new, highly regarded audience of broadcasters and sponsors.
Is this reflected in the athletes’ compensation?
In most sports, we are still far from the riches with which men are rewarded. One of the few exceptions is tennis: female tennis players have been rewarded with the same rewards as men at major tournaments for ten years.
Last year, Roger Federer had the highest income, followed by Japan’s Naomi Osaka and then Serena Williams, ahead of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
However, in the less popular disciplines, there are still glaring differences. The Tour de France winner will receive a check for €50,000, which is ten times less than Tour 2022 winner Dane Jonas Vingegaard.
In football, the struggle of American women for greater parity, led by their world star Megan Rapinoe, has finally succeeded. After six years of paperwork, a landmark agreement was signed in early 2022. A dozen countries, such as England, Brazil and Australia, have similar agreements.