Sponsorship of Women's Sport

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Book Section

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Routledge Handbook of the Business of Women’s Sport


Routledge Publishing



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Recently, corporate spending on sport sponsorship has exploded with consistent double-digit growth year on year. In 2017, sport sponsorship within North America alone rose to US$15.7 billion. However, this influx in sponsor spending has not resulted in all sport properties becoming flush with corporate financial support. Although more funding has found its way toward women’s sport, major hurdles still exist for women’s sport properties looking to attract corporate sponsorship. One of the greatest challenges facing women’s sport properties is the lack of mainstream media attention provided. Research on sport media coverage reports 95–99% of sport coverage is allocated to men’s sport, leaving only 1–5% of overall coverage for women’s sport. This imbalance has a significant negative impact on the ability of women’s sports to attract and retain sponsors. The attention, interest, desire, action (AIDA) marketing model clearly depicts the impact of insufficient media coverage on women’s sport sponsorship, while also identifying distinct opportunities. For example, research by Nielsen indicates that 84% of sport fans are interested in women’s sport and both men and women reported they want to view more women’s sport. In this chapter, we argue women’s sports have the ability to deliver sponsors a relatively clean environment void of sponsorship clutter, are more flexible in what they can offer sponsors, and, when positioned correctly, offer sponsors the ability to achieve their marketing objectives more efficiently and effectively than their competitors.


Sport sponsorship; Women's sport; Women's sport properties; Sport media


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sports Studies



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