Gender inequality in sports broadcasting: Women’s Tennis Association Perform deal

Gender inequality. A very frequently mentioned topic within the area of sports today. The argument of men’s sports and athletes being much more appreciated and publicised for their abilities, other than women. “Will continue to exist until the media re-examines it portrayal of female athletes” (Trolan, 2013)

Women’s sport may be deemed as very under publicised, but the new deal between the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and Perform media company lasting ten years and worth £340 million for rights to broadcast over 2000 games from the tour.

Mens sports are generally covered and viewed in the media to a much larger scale than women’s sports. A prime example of this being the football world cups that take place. The official views recorded for the most recent mens World Cup final was 3.2 billion! (Fifa.com). This is an astronomical figure when comparing it to the women’s final, which received under a quarter of these views (750 million). In 2016, the BBC seen a peaked amount of 13.3million viewers watching the live mens final (2016.wimbledon.com). This again is a significant figure compared to the peak of 4.8 million watching the women’s final.

The pool viewers of these four major sporting events totals at 3,2768,100,00 live viewers and only 759,800,000 of these viewers are for the women events. This means in terms of views, over three quarters were taken by the  mens sports. .

This is significant as this is a reason for men’s sporting organisations having much larger incomes than women’s generally. The Perform deal however has had a huge impact on women’s tennis already:

“In terms of the output and the content we can offer, it’s an absolute step change. It’s massive,”. “This is a defining moment not just for women’s tennis, but for women’s sport in general.” – said Heather Bowler of the WTA (The Guardian 2016). The progression of this overall is a positive look in the right direction of developing the market for viewers of women’s sport. Identified by an official of the association, this shows how significantly identifiable the gap is between women and men’s sports broadcasting and media.

Down to the increase in broadcasting funds for the WTA, this has enhanced facilities, attendances and most of all prize pools. The winner of the next US Open campaign is set to make £600,000 more than last years winner Garbine Muguruza. Serena Williams has seen her career winnings total to over £9,000,000. This is commented on by Billie Jean King in a book speaking of women’s sport changing the game. ‘King whose early days in sport saw her make $14 per day… “That’s what we always wanted for future generations… You’re living our dream”. This is striking as it shows the ambition from past athletes for a positive change to occur. Many female athletes will feel exploited by the past game, but we now see a positive change coming.

The perform deal is the prime example of how gender inequality is in decline. With the increase of investment comes interest and this will carry on to grow. In the future, I predict to see women stars making such iconic career earnings as the likes of Roger Federer and Cristiano Ronaldo have. This develops the world of sport. Competition will be high, quality will continue to grow and it will be as exciting as ever to watch.

This is just the beginning of the growth women’s sports.

 

Reference list:

Trolan, E. (2013). The Impact of the Media on Gender Inequality within Sport. Available at:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042813025512

Shephard, S. (2016). Kicking Off: How Women in Sport are changing the game. P30. Available at:

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/kicking-off-9781472913852/

Walker, P. (2014) Everyone for tennis? Women’s game signs record broadcast deal. Available at:

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/dec/09/tennis-women-deal-games-wta-perform

FIFA.com. (2016). 2014 FIFA World Cup™ reached 3.2 billion viewers, one billion watched final.  Available at: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/y=2015/m=12/news=2014-fifa-world-cuptm-reached-3-2-billion-viewers-one-billion-watched–2745519.html [Accessed 20 Nov. 2017].

Wimbledon.com. (2016). Facts and Figures / FAQ. [online] Available at: https://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/atoz/faq_and_facts_and_figures.html