Marketers are still trying to figure out women’s sports 50 years after Title IX
Sprouts Farmers Market has announced a major sponsorship in women’s athletics through partnerships with the Big 12 and Pac-12 Conferences timed to the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
The partnership includes becoming the first-ever presenting partner of the Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Championships and the title sponsor of the Big 12 Women’s Soccer Championship.
“We’re proud to sponsor these great female athletes,” said Jack Sinclair, Sprouts’ CEO, in a press release.
Title IX, signed into law by Richard Nixon in 1972, prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government.
As a result, females now account for 43 percent of sports participants at the high school level and 44 percent of all NCAA athletes. The side benefit of playing sports is building confidence and learning leadership and teamwork skills that elevate career advancement and offer other lifetime benefits.
In recent years, sponsorships of women’s sports have seen an uptick due to empowerment movements, including the U.S. women’s soccer team’s push for equal pay.
Men’s sports, however, still earn the wide majority of sponsorship and overall sports advertising spend (outside of tennis and the Olympics). This is primarily because men’s sports draw significantly higher viewers.
Women’s slow growth in viewership, attendance and sponsorships is often traced to the notion that men — being larger, stronger and faster — provide a more entertaining product.
Proponents of women’s sports marketing claim a lack of media exposure stunts growth as studies show less than five percent of sports media content is dedicated to women’s sports. University researchers from Australia in a 2017 study attributed the skimpy coverage to male-dominated sports newsrooms, ingrained assumptions about readership and the systematic, repetitive nature of sports news.
Nielsen research from 2018 found 84 percent of global sports fans are interested in women’s sports. Fifty-one percent of those were male.
A recent Nielsen analysis found women’s sports media coverage still significantly lags behind men’s. The research firm wrote in a blog entry, “Fans around the world are telling leagues and sponsors they’re ready for more when it comes to women’s sports.”
- Sprouts Farmers Market, alongside Jennie Finch, Announces Commitment to Women’s Sports and Health through Partnerships with Pac-12 and Big 12 Conferences – Sprouts Farmers Market/Globe Newswire
- Sprouts Farmers Market named Official Grocer of the Pac-12 – Pac-12
- Big 12 Conference Welcomes Sprouts Farmers Market as New Integrated, Multi-year Sponsor and “The Official Grocer of the Big 12” – Big 12
- The Coverage Gap:A Step Toward Leveling Visibility And Viewership Disparity In Women’s Sports – DAZN
- Five Reasons Why Women’s Sport Will Catapult Your Brand Value – Bandt
- As Women’s Sports Push For Equality, Media Needs To Follow Suit – Sportico
- Global Interest In Women’s Sports Is On The Rise – Nielsen
- News media still pressing the mute button on women’s sports – University Of Southern California
- Breaking the bias against women’s sport: the impact of equal opportunity for athletes, fans and sponsors – Nielsen
- Fans Are Changing The Game: 2022 Global Sports Marketing Report – Nielsen
- Fifty Years On, Title IX’s Legacy Includes Its Durability – The New York Times
- We Can Do Better Than Title IX – The New York Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should retailers and brands be aggressively investing in women’s sports sponsorships or advertising despite viewership challenges? Will the payback from women’s sports sponsorships soon be on par with men’s sports?