Research carried out by the Women’s Sport Trust has revealed that women’s sport in the UK is on the rise with TV viewership increasing by 28%. 

The sport charity’s research shows that more than nine hours were spent watching women’s sports, up an extra two hours from seven hours the year prior. 

The recent 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup garnered huge viewing hours, with Brits watching on average six hours and 45 minutes of tournament action. The global football competition also attracted the highest percentage of female viewers (42%) and the highest number of under-16 viewers to date (7%). 

Furthermore, the Women’s World Cup proved to be a landmark event for women’s sports, as 1.5 million viewers of the 29.9 million who watched the final between Spain and England did not watch the men’s final in December 2022. 

As well as a 7% increase in total coverage hours of women’s sport (to more than 6,000 hours) across Pay TV and Free-to-Air channels, there have been 2 million people watching women’s sport on Pay TV so far this year, who didn’t in 2022.

Tammy Parlour, CEO of Women’s Sport Trust, said: “The visibility of women’s sport continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, due in the main part to the unbelievable progress of our female athletes on the global stage.  

“The most pleasing part of this research is the identification and size of the unique audiences being drawn to women’s sport.  We look forward to seeing how this definitive data will continue to attract more investment over the coming months – driving the value of women’s sport up further.”

But it was not just women’s football who saw growth. The Metro Bank Women’s Ashes Series this year garnered 6.5 million viewers compared to the 3.8 million who watched in 2019.

The average viewer watched three hours of coverage, 131% higher than in 2019. The Women’s Ashes also brought in 4.5 million new viewers for England Women and it now makes up the highest share of total viewing time for a home Ashes with 10%.

Figures show that in 2023, 37% of Women’s Ashes viewers had not watched any other women’s sport, resulting in 2.4 million new viewers to women’s sport. These viewers had a higher 16-34 and ethnic minority group percentage than those who had previously watched women’s sport this year.

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