From the Sidelines to Centre Stage: Supercharging the Visibility of Women’s Sport

Women's sports have long been overshadowed by their male counterparts, but the tides are turning. By providing equal opportunities for female athletes to shine on the world stage, media coverage becomes a powerful catalyst for change. In this article we explore the ways in which brands can help shine the light on female athletes through their content.

The visibility of women’s sports is a key factor that drives engagement, commercial growth, and grassroots participation [8]. With this in mind and 68% of committed women's sports fans wanting greater innovation in the coverage of women’s sports [6] here are a few effective ways to enhance your content:


Brands can afford to be braver in their partnerships, endorsements, and sponsorships of women’s sport as new research by the Women’s Sport Trust found that 60% of respondents feel sponsors should be investing in both the men’s and women’s side of a sport that they support and that 16% of the UK population are more likely to buy from a company sponsoring women’s sport, compared to 13% for partners of men’s sport [9]. Brands can follow in the footsteps of Ally Financial who have paved the way with their 50/50 pledge to equalise their media spend across women's and men's sports by 2027 [5]. Sponsorship of women’s sport helps provide a broader range of content which then helps attract a wider audience, thus increasing its revenue and subsequently future investment. This then paves the way for better training facilities and enhanced opportunities for female athletes to thrive and reach their full potential.

Visa has demonstrated how to do this effectively. They already have an existing partnership with football's global governing body, FIFA, but in December 2022 they announced they have committed to a 7-year partnership with UEFA as the first-ever sponsor of women’s football in Europe. Further to this, they have announced long-term plans to increase their global investment in women’s football, showcasing their dedication to the growth of women’s sport. One of Visa’s core messages they want to highlight is being a brand for everyone, and they hope their new partnership with women’s football helps drive that message forward, as it demonstrates their support for female empowerment and equality [2]. These shared values are key in new partnerships, for them to be viewed as authentic and for the longevity of the relationship.


Media outlets should provide equal coverage of women's sports events, competitions, and achievements as consistent coverage helps build interest, engages viewers, and normalizes women's sports as part of mainstream media. Additionally, equal coverage of women's sports is both a matter of fairness and a crucial step toward gender equality.

By showcasing female athletes, media platforms can challenge preconceived notions, biases, and stereotypes surrounding women in sports. Extensive coverage includes live broadcasts, match highlights, post-game analysis, and feature stories. Research shows these media offerings are especially popular with older women’s football fans, however, there is a generational difference as the preferred content types for 18–24-year-olds are memes, live games, and inspirational stories [3].


Sharing female athletes' personal stories, achievements, and struggles can inspire others and create emotional connections.

"It’s easier to be what you can see."

This year has seen the likes of four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, Rugby World Cup finalist Abbie Ward and 2020 AIG Women's Open champion Sophia Popov, all top-level female athletes publicly announcing their pregnancies, through which an empowering message is sent out in their plans to return to their sporting field post-pregnancy [4].

Highlighting women returning from pregnancy and injury in sports content is important as this helps challenge and break stereotypes encompassing women in sports. It displays women in a light in which they are resilient, determined, and capable of overcoming physical obstacles, thus promoting a more empowering image of female athletes. This inspires young girls to participate in sports, boosts self-confidence, and instils a belief in their own potential. It also serves as inspiration for other female athletes, showing they can overcome events that were previously viewed as setbacks in their sporting careers.

Levelling up

Women’s sports have come a long way in recent years as women’s football tournaments have seen the largest attendance figures to date, for example, the Women’s FA Cup final this year saw a world-record crowd of 77,390 watch Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 [1]. Additionally, February 2022 saw the US women’s soccer team reach a settlement on the longstanding equal pay dispute. US Soccer stated its commitment to providing an equal rate of pay for the women's and men's national teams, including World Cup bonuses [7], another step in the right direction for women’s sports.

Despite these positive changes, there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to market share and visibility of women’s sports. With more people tuning in to watch these events every day, it will only be a matter of time before marketing strategies begin paying off significantly in terms of increased viewership numbers and more sponsorships from major companies. Women’s sport is slowly becoming part of mainstream culture and with proper marketing tactics, we can ensure that this exciting trend continues.

Story10 is here to help

The importance of women's sports coverage cannot be overstated. It is a catalyst for change, promoting equality, inspiring future generations, and driving the growth and recognition of women's sports.

With a proven track record of increasing viewership numbers and improving campaign reach, get in touch with Story10 to find out how we can help you shape the future of women’s sports.



[1] Bassam, T. (2023) Women’s FA cup final sets new attendance record with 77,390 at Wembley, SportsPro. Available at: (Accessed: 12 July 2023).

[2] Carp, S. (2023) ‘we want to address the lack of role models’: Inside Visa’s game-changing women’s World Cup plans, SportsPro Smart Series. Available at: (Accessed: 13 July 2023).

[3] Dixon, E. (2023) 2023 Women’s World Cup ‘significant opportunity’ to reach gen Z fans, says study, SportsPro. Available at: (Accessed: 01 July 2023).

[4] Hodges, V. (2023) How top-level athletes are rewriting pregnancy in sport narrative and forcing governing bodies into action, Sky Sports. Available at: (Accessed: 14 July 2023).

[5] Marciano, S. (2023) How ally’s 50/50 pledge is changing the way brands look at - and invest in - women’s sports, SportsPro Media. Available at: (Accessed: 17 July 2023).

[6] Sim, J. (2023) 58% of UK Women’s sports fans want more non-live content, says study, SportsPro. Available at: (Accessed: 01 July 2023).

[7] Sky Sports (2022) USA Women: Equal Pay Settlement reached with us soccer in deal which will see terms match men’s players, Sky Sports. Available at: (Accessed: 13 July 2023).

[8] UK Parliament (2023) ‘Written evidence submitted by Women’s Sport Trust’. UK Parliament. Available at:

[9] Women’s Sport Trust (2023) ‘SPONSORSHIP RESEARCH: THE VALUE OF WOMEN’S SPORT’. United Kingdom: Women’s Sport Trust. Available at: