THE WOMEN'S SUMMER OF SPORT
Wow, what a summer of sport we have been treated to so far and we pause for breath, we can reflect on what a massive impact women's sport has made in the past few weeks. The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, Wimbledon, England Women's Cricket, The Launch of the W Series and the Netball World Cup in Liverpool have dominated our screens, radios and interest this summer.
BBC Sport launched #ChangeTheGame this year in order to showcase female athletes and capitalise on the growing interest and popularity of women’s sport here in the UK. This platform has made more live women’s sport available to watch than ever before.
When England beat Norway in the Women’s FIFA World Cup quarter-final, it drew the third largest TV audience for a sports event on the BBC this year. 7.6 million people tuned in and this figure does not include those who watched the game online or via mobile devices. This made up 38.6 % of the available audience and more viewers than the men’s FA Cup Final. Although England could not quite get past the USA in the semi-final, the effect of this tournament being watched by so many cannot be underestimated and is sure to inspire large numbers of youngsters to get involved and bring greater investment into the sport.
Wimbledon was a magnificent fortnight and while we saw the usual protagonists fighting it out in the men’s singles in spectacular style who could forget the impact of 15-year-old Coco Gauff in the ladies tournament. Coco was the youngest player ever to qualify for the main draw, she beat the legend, Venus Williams, in the first round and was only beaten in the last 16 by the eventual champion, Simona Halep. Halep’s destruction of the most successful women’s player of all time, Serena Williams, to win her second grand slam title was an outstanding and inspiring achievement in itself.
Netball is riding the crest of a wave in popularity at the moment, following England’s gold medal at the last Commonwealth Games and Sky Sports showing live Vitality Super League games over the past season. The game has now reached even more living rooms after the excitement of the Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool and was televised by both Sky Sports and the BBC. The BBC commissioned a podcast Netballers too which they are hoping to continue with.
Are we seeing a shift away from the traditional profit-making areas for sports which historically have been dominated by male sport whereby commercial entities are considering female sport to be a viable option at last? It is about time – after all women and girls don’t just need fit, healthy, sporting role models, they want them.
With this added media coverage, popularity and investment comes the chance for players to earn more from their playing contracts and also greater opportunities for them to raise their profile and increase their earnings away from the court. However, sponsorship/endorsement deals and public appearances etc need to be managed by qualified and knowledgeable advisors and particularly in a sport we’ve worked in over the last two years, netball; this is a relatively new concept for players to deal with.
At Tactic Connect we have had the privilege of working closely with the Netball Players Association(NPA) since its inception, helping to shape and provide a range of essential support services for today’s in demand netball players. We have helped many players with contract issues and negotiations, sponsorship/endorsement advice and representation, and also assistance with players own businesses away from netball, from set-up through to improvements and streamlining current businesses in order for the player to remain focussed on their sport. The players voice is all important in the work we do, and we represent each individual on an independent basis.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be the first games ever at which less than half of the events will be male only events, and Team GB is expected to have more female athletes competing than males for the very first time, women’s sport is really on the up and long may it continue.