Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Women’s sport is a seriously untapped market

Women’s sport is a seriously untapped market
June 24, 2015

The myth that there's no interest in women's sport is crumbling fast in the wake of the Matildas' FIFA World Cup run and the exceptional ANZ Championship netball grand final.

In an opinion column on the ABC's The Drum, ABC Grandstand Sport Reporter and Producer James Maasdorp explains that the Matildas' win over Brazil in the FIFA Women's World Cup was Australia's first ever win in the knockout stage of either the men's or women's global competition.

Just a day earlier, the trans-Tasman (ANZ Championship) netball championship decider wowed pay-TV audiences as the Queensland Firebirds scored five straight goals at the death to snatch a 57-56 win over the NSW Swifts in Brisbane.

All the while, the internal metrics measuring eyeballs on stories at ABC News Online told its own story: the audience was furiously clicking on women's sport stories, and the appetite for them looks a long way from being sated.

Grandstand's article for the Matildas' win over Brazil was the most popular for 22nd June by a long shot, exceeding Jordan Spieth's US Open win and a host of the ABC's more bread-and-butter political stories.

The netball grand final caught fire on social media in what was unanimously lauded as a scintillating, exciting contest, to the extent that ‘Firebirds; was trending nationally in Australia's twittersphere.

More and more, this is disproving the old myth that women's team sport is inferior to men's and, as a result, proving that there is significantly more demand for the greater media coverage of the women's game.

The myth that there's no interest in women's sport is crumbling fast, and while the nay-sayers may be circling the wagons, questions of both the quality of play and the sport's overall product are rapidly being answered.

The fierce intensity of the ANZ Championship l grand final and Katrina Gorry's awesome through-ball to set up Australia's winner against Brazil have showcased the quality on offer in netball and women's football.

But there are other aspects to the package, perhaps even a comparative advantage, that differentiates the women's game from the men. The sportsmanship on display from the defeated NSW Swifts players in the wake of the Firebirds win, particularly from MVP Sharni Layton, was lauded far and wide across social media.

The FIFA Women's World Cup has also been praised for having significantly less gamesmanship, preening and mean-spiritedness than modern men's football at the top level.

In some ways, the fact that many of these sportswomen have to balance their exceptional on-field abilities with full-time occupations or study is a blessing, giving us well-rounded, relatable individuals who must truly cherish the adoration they receive from the crowd.

But what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The holy grail, for equality's sake, must be professionalisation of women's team sport. That will not happen overnight. It will take years, perhaps even several generations, of successive women's competitions to establish, in the same way men's modern sport evolved in the late 19th and early 20th century.

What cannot be argued any longer, however, is that the quality of women's sport still has some way to catch up to men.

Yes, men will for the most part be taller, stronger and quicker than women in overall benchmarks, but if this were the barometer for quality in all sport, there would never have been a market for women's tennis, surfing or practically any Olympic event.

Women's sport may be physically different to the men's code, but it is no less strategic or passionate. In time, given the opportunity, it too can be equally storied and develop its own history.

The ball may already be rolling, with video game producer EA Sports' announcement that women's teams will feature in the next edition of the FIFA gaming franchise.

FIFA16 will include a selection of women's national teams - including the Matildas - with female professionals being used to capture the same painstakingly accurate player animations.

EA Sports has acknowledged there is a different pace and style to play in women's football, meaning a different approach to the game will be required for the player.

Turn your nose up at video games if you must, but we are talking about the FIFA franchise - a behemoth in world sport. If the likes of EA Sports keeps this up, the women's game will become more and more mainstream each consecutive year.

Fox Sports must be credited for the excellent product it has delivered in its broadcasting of the trans-Tasman netball championship. The W-League, however, has a long way to go after the ABC was forced into axing its coverage due to budget cuts.

The netball has proved it can stand on its own two feet, but now serious questions should be asked as how to better foster other women's team sports.

The AFL has already said it is pushing for a national women's league to commence in 2017, with the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Demons' women's teams already featuring this season at the MCG, prior to the men's team fixtures.

It will be a more difficult sell for the round ball game, with the quality of the pitch (set to host two back-to-back games) held in such high regard by players and groundskeepers, and bad weather could further complicate the argument on the day.

But the conversation remains critical for football. With the women's game enjoying such high participation rates and greater coverage in Australia's media, some kind of arrangement needs to be found between stakeholders to get more eyes on the women's game to tap in to the Matildas' success.

Playing and watching sport is meant for everyone. The joy (and despair) felt watching our top footballers and netballers has been widespread, crossing the gender divide.

Now it's time for the media to start putting the foundations in place for the eventual equality in news representation of women's sport.

James Maasdorp is a reporter and producer for ABC Grandstand Sport.

Click here to read the original article on the ABC’s website.







Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


At EventPro Software, we are proudly different from our industry competitors. We have a development-driven culture and 20 years’ experience in event, venue, and catering management software,…

read more

Events / Hospitality / Technology / Ticketing / Venues


Hydrocare Pool Services

Hydrocare Pool Services Pty Ltd offer 30 years of experience in aquatic industry features, products and water treatment. Hydrocare Pools has undertaken water treatment for aquatic centres and…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Technology


Supreme Heating

Supreme Heating is a proud Australian owned company specialising in the latest energy efficient heating solutions. Since 1990, Supreme Heating has designed and installed commercial pool heating…

read more

Aquatics / Environment / Recreation


Anti Wave International

Anti Wave International is the original suppliers of top performance swim, aquatic sports, leisure and pool programming equipment. Founded in 1971, Anti Wave International is proud of its…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Sport


HYPOXI Australia Pty Ltd

HYPOXI®  is one of Europe’s most successful health and weight loss studio concepts.  It’s the first weight loss technology to incorporate exercise with advanced vacuum and…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness



Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues


Centaman Entrance Control

Turnstile Entry Systems and Access Control Centaman Entrance Controls’ Award Winning Range of Access Control Systems includes tripod & triarm turnstiles, speedgates, full height…

read more

Access / Entertainment / Sport / Ticketing / Venues


APT Asia Pacific Pty Ltd

APT (Advanced Polymer Technology) is the leading global manufacturer of polyurethane-based materials, acrylic coatings and synthetic turf products for sporting and recreational applications. From…

read more

Environment / Sport / Surfaces / Technology


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business