Since England’s Lionesses won the Euros in 2022 and reached the 2023 World Cup Final, women’s sport has become more mainstream than ever before. 12 million people watched the recent final on BBC One: the first year in which FIFA unbundled the broadcast and media distribution rights, rather than bundling men’s and women’s football together.
The results were disappointing. While men’s World Cup matches generate $3bn in broadcast fees, this figure stood at $300mn for the Women’s World Cup.
However, things are changing. Attendance figures and sponsorship deals are growing, with sponsors realising the potential in all types of women’s sports. But is this also true for investors?
New Government investment accelerator for women’s sport
In late August 2023, the UK government announced the launch of a new scheme: the Women’s Sport Investment Accelerator. A collaboration between the Department for Business and Trade, Deloitte and IWG, the accelerator – which runs until next autumn – was opened to rights holders for any UK women’s sports (teams, leagues, competitions and events) looking for investment.
To invest in women…invest in men
Earlier on, we mentioned the “unbundling” of broadcasting rights by FIFA. This “unbundling” has not happened when it comes to investing in women’s sport.
When looking to invest in women’s football, for example, it is not possible to invest solely in a women’s team. To invest in a club’s women’s team you’ll need to invest in the club as a whole – including the mens’ womens’ and youth teams.
With more and more focus on women’s sport, though – and more funding and prize money being dedicated to female players and teams – this may change. Globally, investors are able to invest specifically in women’s sport, and venture capital deals are becoming increasingly popular. Could we see the same thing happening in the UK?
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