New survey reveals that 74% of general sports fans think brands should sponsor men’s & women’s sports equally.
A new survey found that general sports fans overwhelmingly think brands should support women's sports. The survey, conducted by Aggregate Sports in collaboration with market research platform Suzy, recently surveyed a diverse representative sample of Americans who consider themselves avid or casual sports fans. 1,000 people, ages 18-65 were polled with the goal of better understanding current consumer perceptions around women’s sports. The survey found that:
🎾 77% of these fans believe brands should sponsor women’s sports
🤝 74% of these fans brand should sponsor sports equally for women and men
🏆 62% of these fans feel better about brands that sponsor women’s sports.
What makes these findings particularly noteworthy is the fact that they capture the sentiments of general sports fans - aka, fans who do not exclusively identify as supporters of women's sports.
The findings reveal a narrative about shifting attitudes and preferences happening in society that extends well beyond a niche group of women's sports enthusiasts.
They reveal that on the whole, the majority of all sports fans value gender equality.
Rem de Rohan, the Chief Operating Officer of Aggregate Sports said, “It is important for brands, marketers, and sports industry professionals to fully grasp changing consumer perceptions and behaviors around women’s sports.” Rohan went on to say that, “Early investors in women’s sports such as VISA, AT&T, and Nike fully understood the scope of the opportunity, but many brands are just now realizing that investing in women’s sports goes well beyond doing something socially good, it is good for business.”
Nike's 2016 campaign "Better For It" was a call to action to share, promote, and embrace women’s fitness and sports. The campaign invited a global community of women to push themselves further. Whether it was a personal best in their latest marathon or a weekend run, #betterforit offered athletes collective inspiration to reach new heights and a place to share their experiences.
Another intriguing aspect of this survey is its alignment with existing data (that we like to discuss all the time here at GOALS) that showcases the significant economic benefits for brands who invest in women's sports. Over the last few years, there have been numerous case studies and reports conducted that underscore the lucrative nature of sponsoring women's sports.
Sports Innovation Lab
📊 In The Fan Project Report, Sports Innovation Lab found women's sports have the most innovative and committed fans, and that by not investing in women’s sports, brands have been missing out on as much as five years of revenue by not engaging with these consumers. The Fan Project also cites case studies with brands like Nike, and found that NWSL fans were 2.5x more loyal to Nike following their sponsorship, and WNBA fans were 3.4x more loyal.
📈 In The New Economy of Sports: The Unparalleled Value of Professional Women Athletes, The Collective at Wasserman + RBC found that fans of women's sports are 54% more aware of brand sponsors and are 45% more likely to consider or purchase from a brand sponsor compared to men's sports.
💰 In The Value of You Can Be What You Can See: Addressing the Sponsorship Gap For Women's Elite Sport, the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation in Victoria, Australia found that for every $1 corporate sponsors invest into women's elite sport, they see an average return of $7.29 in customer value.
However, despite these collective results that undoubtedly bring the data to the table that makes the business case for why brands should invest in women’s sports, women’s sports still receive only 1% of global sports sponsorship dollars. And for the brands that are sponsoring women’s sports, we know from a new report from Sport Innovation Lab that they’re only spending just 9% of their total sports media budgets on women’s sports.
For whatever reason, brands are still hesitant to embrace women’s sports sponsorships as a marketing strategy. As a result, they're failing to take advantage of the potential returns that sponsoring women’s sports can offer.
The take away from all of these reports and insights is that collectively, these findings should serve as a call to action for brands to reevaluate how they're approaching their sports sponsorship strategies if they’re not already heavily prioritizing women’s sports. The results suggest that investing in women's sports is not only a strategic business move, but also aligns with the changing preferences of general sports fans.
There is a much broader shift happening when it comes to societal attitudes towards women's sports, demonstrating a potential untapped market. For brands that are willing to change-up their sponsorship playbooks by supporting and sponsoring women's sports, there are great potential results on the horizon. By embracing the global movement for gender equity and positioning themselves as an early adopter of women’s sports, brands stand to benefit financially for years to come.
About Caroline Fitzgerald
Caroline Fitzgerald (she/her) is a contributing writer for Parity and the CEO & Founder of GOALS - a women's sports marketing consultancy & media platform. Caroline launched GOALS in 2020 after recognizing that there was an opportunity to help women's sports teams sign more sponsorship deals - and help brands see the business value around investing in women's sports. GOALS also produces the leading women's sports business podcast - The Business Case for Women's Sports, which is presented by Ally. For more information on GOALS, visit https://goals-sports.com or follow on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Threads.
Minority-founded in 2020, Parity's mission is to close the gender income and opportunity gap in professional sports. By developing high-impact collaborations between brands, professional women athletes and their fans, Parity has proudly put more than $3.5 million in the pockets of women athletes, attracting dozens of brands to the movement in the process. The platform offers connections to more than 1000 women athletes from 75+ sports, including well over 200 Olympians and Paralympians. For more information on how to tap into the rapidly rising influence and popularity of women athletes, visit https://paritynow.co or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Threads.