10 AUG 2017

Sponsorship in women's sport

Kent Messenger Column - 10-08-17 

I welcomed the recent focus on the BBC's gender pay gap, but the issue spreads much more widely than on-screen media talent; a current case-in-point being sport.

This summer has thus far witnessed an unprecedented level of English success in international women's sport. Our cricket team won the World Cup in front of a full house at Lords (where Kent's own Tammy Beaumont was player of the tournament); the Lionesses football team reached the semi-final of the Euro Championships and last weekend England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff was second in the Women's British Open Golf Championship.

The women's Rugby World Cup, where our own Red Roses are the reigning champions, is about to take the stage, but while the profile of women's sport has never been higher, the rewards and coverage largely remain on a different planet to those of their male counterparts; Chelsea bagged £38m for winning the Premier League this year compared with zero for the women's super-league winners. Further, it is estimated that women's sport accounts for only 0.4% of all sports sponsorship and 7% of sports media coverage. Shameful.

Sponsorship and media are key to the change I have long campaigned for in developing sport participation in women and girls; If it's on the telly, it inspires and motivates.

Tennis Grand Slams (including Wimbledon) are one of the few international sports where the prize money is equivalent for men and women; no co-incidence then that eight of the world's top ten earning female athletes are tennis players.

But investment in women's sport remains a largely untapped opportunity. There are golden eggs in the waiting for visionary businesses looking for exciting brand association – perhaps there are some here in Maidstone & The Weald? If you're interested, a good place to start would be to contact the national governing body of the sport you fancy, and go from there. Let me know if I can help.

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