Tennis is leading the way in women’s sport visibility and female fan engagement

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New research from women’s sport charity the Women’s Sport Trust has highlighted the leading role tennis plays in raising the profile of women’s sport, and in particular the platform it has provided to Emma Raducanu to capture the nation’s attention and become one of Britain’s greatest personalities. athletes in profile.

The phenomenal national interest generated around Raducanu’s momentous US Open victory is evident from the surge in online traffic, with UK Google searching for Raducanu in a single week in September close to Tom Daley’s search numbers on the whole of 2021, and more than the combined total of three Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jason Kenny over the whole year.

The Women’s Sport Trust report also highlighted the work done by the LTA as a positive example of a sports governing body that has promoted gender parity in social media coverage as part of its strategy to include the sport. tennis in Great Britain. This has led to an improvement over a 12-month period in coverage of women’s football on LTA channels, which remains an ongoing priority.

In addition to looking at coverage trends, the research revealed that tennis has the highest proportion of female fans. Tennis only rubs shoulders with the Olympics and Paralympics to attract more female fans than male fans, with Wimbledon’s average viewership being 57% female and 43% male. The Men’s Six Nations are next with only 41% female fans, with the average for all other men’s and women’s sports being just 32%.

Lucy Shuker in action at Wimbledon in 2021

Female athletes driving audience peaks

Contrary to the current trend of decreasing hours of television viewing, women’s sport is growing on free and paid television channels. However, it’s the free-to-air streaming that really makes an impact in attracting new viewers to women’s sports. The research also found that for mixed-gender sporting events last year, such as tennis and Tokyo 2020, it was female athletes who generated the peak viewership.

This was demonstrated by the impact of Raducanu’s performances at the US Open in reaching and engaging new audiences. Streamed for free on Channel 4 as well as Amazon Prime, it has become Britain’s most anticipated women’s tennis match for at least 30 years, underlining the importance of moments like this being so widely and freely available to the public. British as possible in order to maximize the impact.

Statistics

How Raducanu’s success at the US Open helped raise the profile of women’s tennis:

Emma Raducanu

  • The 2021 US Open final has been the most-watched women’s tennis match in Britain for at least 30 years
  • Attracted 12.5 million viewers with a 48% share of 16-34 year olds and a 50/50 gender split
  • The most streamed tennis match on Amazon Prime Video of all time
  • Raducanu featured in four of the ten most visited women’s sports stories on the Sky Sports website in 2021
  • In September 2021, there were 8 million UK Google searches for Raducanu, up from just 250 in May.
  • Raducanu’s searches in a single week in September were close to Tom Daley’s searches in all of 2021, and more than the combined total of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jason Kenny throughout the year
  • Raducanu is now the most followed British tennis player on Instagram – behind Naomi Osaka among world tennis players under 30.
  • Grown from less than 10,000 Instagram followers at the start of 2021 to 2.165 million at the end of the year, generating 13.66 million interactions on her account, almost four times the interactions on the team’s account soccer lionesses

The research, conducted for the Women’s Sport Trust by Futures Sport and Entertainment, examines the media exposure and consumption of women’s sport, men’s sport and mixed sport in the UK. It details how that has changed throughout 2021 and predicts record ratings for 2022.

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