Social Push For Women’s Sport Growth Continues
he rise of women’s sport in Australia over recent years has been capturing some headlines recently, notably due to the success of the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and Australia and New Zealand being awarded the rights to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Recently revealed data from Twitter shows 84% of sports fans who use Twitter follow a women’s league, over half of sports fans on Twitter agree Twitter helps them find out more about women’s sport and nearly two-thirds say they want to see more exposure for women’s sport.
Twitter Australia head of sports partnerships, Olly Wilton, told Ministry of Sport Twitter has made a conscious effort to help drive greater visibility and acknowledgement of women’s sport.
“As the prominence of women in sport has taken off, Twitter was there every step of the way, fostering this growth and encouraging women’s sporting communities to use the platform to own conversations, celebrate achievements and get involved in the games they love,” Wilton told Ministry of Sport.
“Now, women’s sport conversation is seeing unprecedented growth and people are paying attention.
“This mainstream attention is being achieved now because the community has relentlessly worked for visibility and acknowledgement, using platforms like Twitter.
“A decade ago, this kind of visibility would have been almost impossible, but the community movements we see on platforms like Twitter are providing a stage to drive genuine change.
“Women’s sport has been a focus of ours for a long time now.
“We were one of the first social media platforms to broadcast women’s games years ago and continue to provide a place to help this community be seen, heard and grow.
“We have partnered with sporting organisations to live stream women’s sports, including the yearly AFLW kickoff, and a partnership with the SBS to create a Twitter exclusive live show during the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“Last year, we launched our #ChangingTheGame campaign to empower women in sports and give Australian female athletes an avenue to discuss the issues they’re facing,” he said.
Discussing the high engagement metrics reported for women’s sport, Wilton said grassroots sport engagement has had a large impact on growth.
“It’s no secret that men’s sport has traditionally dominated mainstream media coverage, but in recent times women’s sport has seen unprecedented growth,” Wilton said.
“This can largely be attributed to the power of grassroots engagement leading to long-overdue recognition.
“It’s a prime example of social media platforms being used for social good in driving equality, raising awareness of women’s sport, and empowering these females who are just as equal as their male counterparts.
“We know Aussies want to see more of it.
“Our sports data has shown that people are using Twitter as a platform to educate and immerse themselves in women’s sports.
“As this appetite grows, Twitter will provide a space to watch, discuss and shape this further,” he said.
When asked about recent commercial partnership deals by sports rightsholders that include rights to both a men’s and women’s team, Wilton said it adds an extra layer of value for sponsors.
“Anything that brings parity and exposure to the women’s game has to be a good thing,” Wilton said.
“Having women’s sides at the same table during partnerships, sponsorship meeting and negotiations will be great for both athletes and their teams as it gives them more assets to work with and package up.
“It will also bring value to sponsors via having a more diverse set of fans to talk to,” he said.
Talking about the future for women’s sport in Australia, Wilton said Australia will continue to be a leading nation in the world for driving growth of women’s sport.
“The FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 will be an amazing showcase for women in sport,” Wilton said.
“The depth of talent in these countries is second to none and by winning the bid, it shows a commitment and investment to the future by fans, codes and governments alike.
“Australia is already leading the world when it comes to women in sport through the likes of the NRLW, AFLW and Super Netball.
“Hopefully, in the near future, the W League and basketball competitions will also be in a position to attract Australia’s female megastars who are plying their trades in Europe or the US.
“The next generation of sports fans will be exposed to men and women’s sport side by side and see no difference.
“The opportunity to serve up more doubleheaders for men and women’s games combined will bring value to fans and will be a powerful platform to showcase women in sport,” he told Ministry of Sport.