Advanced Television

Women’s sports attracting increased TV audiences

November 6, 2017

The 2016/2017 sporting season, a year without major events such as the World Cup or the Olympic Games, has been a year of increased opportunities for less mediatised sporting events and competitions.

In its Women’s Sport Insight Report, Eurodata TV Worldwide investigates the new visibility of women’s sports on TV in Europe and the US and significant results can be highlighted.

Among the first  identified in this research, Yassine Berhoun, Sports Director of Eurodata TV Worldwide, notes that “The Sports TV landscape has been in constant evolution over the last few years, being especially marked by the rights’ transfers of premium properties from Free-to-Air to Pay TV channels. These changes have offered less exposed events increased visibility and among them, women’s sports competitions such as the UEFA Women’s European Championships or the Women’s Rugby World Cup have clearly maximised this opportunity to reach new heights in terms of TV ratings”.

A growing offer of women’s sports on TV channels…

The attraction for women’s sporting events has grown over recent years. The UEFA Women’s European Championships has been one the most popular competitions in Europe. In France, there has been more than 51 hours of live broadcasts on the France Television Group of channels, versus less than 12 hours for the 2013 event, broadcast on W9. This represents an increase of +325 per cent in terms of broadcast coverage. In Germany, a country where the Women’s Euro has already been successful, the volume of broadcasts has grown by +250 per cent.

Other sports have seen their exposure growing this summer, such as rugby in France, a sport usually known for being particularly male skewed. After  airing the Women’s 6 Nations tournament on France 4 for several years, France TV has dedicated more than 10 hours of the Women’s Rugby World Cup on their channels this summer, with two games airing in prime time on its flagship channel France 2.

… Achieving considerable audiences

As for men, women’s football leads the field. This was the case with the UEFA Women’s European Championships, especially when national teams were involved in the games aired. In France for instance, the national team’s games achieved a 3.4 million audience for a 16.9 per cent audience share on France 2 and France 3. But the climax of this event came in the final round. In the Netherlands for example, the final aired on NPO1 achieving the highest sport audience of the year 2017 up to date (and the second of the year all genres) with more than 4.1 million viewers and a 82.7 per cent market share!

The Women’s Rugby World Cup also performed well in France, with the female version of the France vs England ”crunch”, airing on prime time on France 2, being followed by 3 million fans on TV for a 14.6 per cent market share. This game ranked at the 31st position in terms of sporting event of the year on this channel and the highest audience all time for a women’s rugby game.

Among other events, women’s winter sports  events are very popular in Germany: the highest audience of the Alpine Skiing World Championships in Saint-Moritz (Switzerland) was the women’s downhill, that reached a 3.8 million viewers audience on ZDF (23.8 per cent market share).

In France, the French women’s event organised by the Tour de France, “La course by Le tour de France” gathered together 2 million viewers on France 3 and a 16.9 per cent share of audience. This race was also a success in the Netherlands and Belgium.


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