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The Women's Sports Alliance

PRESENTS...

Televising Women's Sport: Why Broadcast Channels Should Broadcast Friendly Matches



In recent years, women's sport has witnessed tremendous growth in popularity and participation worldwide. With the rise of women's sport, it has become so important for broadcasters like Sky Sports and BBC Sport to recognise and televise matches, including friendly matches, showcasing the talent, dedication, and progress within the women's sports community. Below, I explore the compelling reasons why broadcasters should extend their coverage of women's sport, even when the matches are labelled as 'friendly'.



Promoting Gender Equality

One of the most significant reasons for televising women's sport, even in friendly matches, is to promote gender equality. Historically, men's sport have dominated the television screens, receiving more attention and resource. By broadcasting women's sport, these broadcasters can contribute to levelling the playing field, encouraging equal opportunities, and inspiring young girls to pursue sport as a viable career.



Increased Visibility Encourages Participation

When women's sport is televised, it naturally gains more attention, which can lead to increased participation in sport. Young athletes often look up to their sporting heroes, and by showcasing female athletes, broadcasters can motivate more girls to compete, leading to a stronger and more diverse talent pool in the future.



TV Exposure Attracts Fans and Sponsorship

Broadcasting women's rugby can attract much-needed support and sponsorship to the sport. When fans can watch their favourite teams and athletes on television, it generates a larger fan base, which, in turn, piques the interest of potential sponsors. This additional financial backing can help teams and players thrive, leading to better infrastructure, training facilities, and opportunities for women in rugby.



Creating a Dedicated Fanbase for Women's Sport

Television broadcasts of friendly matches can help create a dedicated fanbase for women's sport. As fans become more familiar with the players, teams, and the intricacies of the sport, they are more likely to follow it closely, attend matches, and support it passionately. A strong fanbase can ensure the longevity and growth of women's sport. On the other hand, by not broadcasting women's sport friendly fixtures, are we encouraging more fans to attend the stadium, rather than sit in their arm chairs and watch?



Showcasing Athletic Excellence

Friendly matches in women's sport often display a high level of skill, risk taking, teamwork, and sports-woman-ship. These matches can be just as entertaining and competitive as their male counterparts. By televising women's sport, broadcasters can showcase the athletic excellence that exists, challenging stereotypes and biases that may have hindered its recognition in the past.



Preparing Athletes for Higher Stakes

It's crucial for female athletes to practice playing while these matches are being live broadcast. This practice not only enhances their performance but also prepares them for the pressure and spotlight of important matches that will be broadcast in the future. When female athletes are accustomed to competing under the scrutiny of a live audience and television cameras during friendly matches, they become more poised and focused. This experience equips them with the mental fortitude needed to excel when the stakes are higher, whether in international tournaments or championship games. Their improved performance during televised matches serves as a source of inspiration for viewers, raising the overall level of play and enthusiasm for women's sport across the board - often meaning a rise in viewing figures. This virtuous cycle of performance improvement benefits athletes, broadcasters and fans, contributing to the continued growth and success of women's sport.



Television broadcasters have a unique opportunity to contribute to the growth and success of women's sport by televising friendly matches. Doing so promotes gender equality, encourages participation, attracts support and sponsorship, builds a stronger fanbase, and highlights the athletic excellence of female athletes. By embracing this opportunity, these broadcasters can play a pivotal role in advancing women's sport to new heights, ensuring a brighter future for women's sport and female athletes.

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