The UK broadcast reach of women’s sports achieved record levels through 2023, with a report by the Women’s Sport Trust also revealing that attendance at women’s sports fixtures was higher than ever across the year.

A total of 46.7 million people viewed 1+ minute of women’s sports on linear TV, a record tally that is almost 1 million more than the previous high, set in 2019.

Streaming service viewership also saw a marked growth surrounding major women’s sporting events, most notably soccer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Buoyed by the success of the England women’s national team, who reached the final of the competition, the tournament notched 25.7 million streams on the BBC network’s BBC iPlayer over-the-top streaming service, alongside 15.6 million in rival ITV’s ITVX service.

The BBC figure in particular is a growth of 75% on the 2019 tournament, despite the tournament itself taking place in Australia and New Zealand, with the 8-13 hour time difference a typically unattractive prospect for UK broadcasts.

Overall TV sports consumption declined in 2023 by 5% compared to 2022, likely due to the lack of a men’s soccer World Cup 2022, which lends credence to the idea that more people are engaging with women’s sports as an alternative or companion to men’s sports.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

The Women’s FIFA World Cup final, in which the Spanish Women’s National Team beat England, ended up as the most-watched women’s sporting event of the year in the UK, with a total of 38.4 million viewing hours recorded across its free broadcast.

Furthermore, the report reveals that 2.6 million people attended women’s sports fixtures in person, a large growth on the 2.1 million recorded in 2022.

Tammy Parlour, chief executive of the Women’s Sport Trust, said: “The industry needs to capitalize on these opportunities to drive further awareness and engagement, so we can continue to broaden the audience for women’s sports, and reach the fans where they are.”

“Women’s sport is attracting more younger, female fans which is great news for the industry as it shows we are starting to attract a distinctive fanbase. The more we can understand the motivations driving their connection with live women’s sports, the more this will enable us to build richer experiences for them in and out of the stadium, and ultimately deepen their fandom