Want Women’s Sports to Succeed? – It’s Up to You
By Sam Squiers
Want to see women’s sports receive more coverage? Want a better broadcast rights deal? Want female athletes to be paid more?
Well, it’s not just up to sports organisations, media outlets and the big wigs of world sport…it’s actually up to you.
The power is surprisingly in our hands.
The inaugural rebel Women’s Big Bash League hit off over the weekend. For the first initial weeks games will be played on smaller surburban fields but there are many that will be curtain raisers to the men’s games in the massive stadiums. Gabba, WACA, Adelaide Oval, MCG and SCG – Australian cricket’s hallowed turfs and predominately the domain of men’s cricket. Then from December 18, eight WBBL games will be broadcast on Channel 10.
This is a huge development for women’s cricket and women in sport in general, but it can’t work without you. Yes you. Women’s sports are not charity efforts, the broadcasting of games is not a token gesture, they are both commercially and socially viable, but only because of you. Yes you.
Marketers, sponsors, media outlets and sports organisations will invest in a product if they see it’s popular with the public. If they switch over to the women’s games and see empty seats and silent crowds, it’s likely they’re going to spend their sponsorship dollars elsewhere. If you fill the seats, you’ll fill the athletes’ pockets and send the message that women’s sports are worth investing in.
If you can’t make it to the games, don’t worry – the ability to assist is at your fingertips. Social media can play a pivotal role and through just 140 characters you can provide a much clearer and more accurate snapshot of what is in the public interest. The power is in your hands. Yes your hands.
Start engaging in women’s sports, follow the athletes, teams and leagues. Tweet about their performances, issues and games. Retweet their posts and use the popular hashtags. Start a conversation with your friends and encourage them to also engage with the women’s game. The cyber world is your water cooler but this time the message is out in the public sphere. Through your fingertips you can be the new town crier and the more people who post, the more people will listen.
Sports interest isn’t genetically defined, it’s learned.
Girls don’t lose interest in sport because of their gender
But it’s not just the public listening. Social researchers, marketers, sponsors, media and sports organisations now use social media as a measure of an event’s success. No longer do inaccurate focus groups, incomplete research or even the head honcho’s personal bias sway decisions on a sport’s success or future, you have the power to show them directly what people want to see. Yes you.
Women’s cricket has come a long way in the past decade. Media reports on women’s cricket increased a whopping 967% in the past five years and girls participation in cricket is up 39% from two years ago.
Sports interest isn’t genetically defined, it’s learned. Girls don’t lose interest in sport because of their gender, society can inadvertently teach girls that sport’s not for them, especially when the only sports they’re exposed to are male games and athletes. Take your little girls to games, introduce them to the female athletes and stars. Show the media, sports organisations and potential sponsors there is a market for professional women’s sports in this country.
Don’t be an armchair advocate for women’s sports, be a bum on seat. Engage in women’s sports don’t just complain about them. And yes…I’m talking to you.
Supporting the WBBL – Who to Follow
Ash Barty – @ashbar96
Delissa Kimmince – @Delissak
Holly Ferling – @Holly_Ferling
Jemma Barsby – @JemmaBarsby
Jessica Jonassen – @JJonassen21
Kate Cross – @katecross16 / IG: @crossy16
Lauren Winfield – @lozwinfield / IG @laurenwinfield58
Heather Knight: @Heatherknight55
Julie Hunter: @JulezHunter
Hayley Matthews: @MyNameIs_Hayley
Amy Satterthwaite: @AmySatterthwait
Katelyn Fryett: @katefryett
Veronica Pyke: @RonniePyke
Meg Phillips: @megphillips01
Sasha Moloney: @sash_moloney
Emma Thompson: @EmmaThompson90
Celeste Raack: @CelesteRaack
Corinne Hall: @crinny17
Sarah Elliott: @Sarah_Elliott (captain)
Rachel Priest: @rachelpriest13
Danni Wyatt: @Danni_Wyatt
Briana Binch: @breebinch
Erica Kershaw: @Ericak158
Sophie Molineux: @SophieMolineux1
Kristy Lamb: @Kirsty270694 \ IG @kristylamb5
Molly Strano: @MollyStrano
Hashtag: #teamgreen #GoStars
Gemma Triscari: @gemmatriscari24
Meg Lanning: @meglanning7
Anna Lanning: @annalanning
Alana King: @alanaking95
Mignon du Preez: @MdpMinx22
Emma Inglis: @emma_j_inglis
Morna Nielsen: @Mornface
Natalie Sciver: @natsciver