Expert Advice

Women, business and sport – the emerging trifecta

B2B Editor10 June 2015

Women, business and sport – the emerging trifecta

The relationship between business and sport is entrenched from the highest levels (eg the Toyota AFL Premiership; the Emirates Melbourne Cup; the VB Ashes Series) through to small businesses sponsoring local junior teams.

Business sponsorship is crucial to modern sport. At the same time, an association with sport is an ideal means for businesses to increase brand recognition. Businesses use the association to appropriate for themselves the positive values of sport.

A 2011 Neilsen study found that “when it comes to spending decisions, women are in control.” And it would be a mistake for men to imagine this control is confined to day to day household spending.

But if women are increasingly in control of spending decisions, why do women’s sports find it so much harder to attract business sponsorship? Surely businesses would recognize the need to influence women and want to sponsor women’s sport accordingly?

Sports consulting firm Repucom finds that globally, 69% of men report an interest in watching sport compared to only 46% of women. The gap is wider in Australia at 73% for men compared to 39% for women (similar to the USA). Perhaps surprisingly, the gap is narrower in Brazil, the UAE, India and Indonesia – the World’s largest Muslim country.

While this gap remains, media will be reluctant to increase coverage of women’s sport and businesses will be reluctant to sponsor women’s sport.

Will this change in the future? I say it is an inevitable consequence of the changes that are taking place in society as well as the needs of traditionally male sports to engage more women if they are to grow.

Traditionally male sports such as Cricket, AFL, Rugby and Soccer are making it a priority to encourage participation by women. They are doing all they can to encourage a family atmosphere at their matches. Scheduling men’s and women’s double headers is now common.

In addition, it cannot be long before more businesses recognize the value of being associated with traditionally female sports such as Netball as well as sports with near equal male and female participation such as Hockey and Basketball. Businesses have already recognized the value of being associated with a sport such as Tennis where men and women are treated more equally in the media.

These trends will change the types of advertisements that are scheduled with sports events. They will no longer be dominated by beer and betting advertisements? More feminine products and services will be advertised with sport. It is one reason why we here at are keen to ensure equal coverage of men’s and women’s sports.

Is your business on board with these trends?


For more information, contact Abul Rizvi Managing Director

on 0413 990 439 or go to