Reviews | How social media data is boosting investor confidence in women in sport

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Kore Software, SportsPro’s official data partner, recently conducted an analysis of the status of female athletes on social media. The trends we’ll discuss are shaping human behavior, connection, and ultimately sports partnership investment strategy for years to come.

The conundrum of women in sport

Access to and investment in sport for women is a very sensitive and personal topic for many, with speculation and perplexity about the lack of investment needed to help women’s sport and female athletes reach their full potential. . Today, there has never been a better time to get involved in massive female-driven growth.

Let’s take a look at a roundup of big data highlights on women in sport over the past 12 years:

  • A 2010 Los Angeles County media survey of ESPN and its local affiliates was uncovered than 1.4% of SportsCenter coverage and 6% local network coverage focused on women’s sports.
  • As late as 2019, approximately 95% of total television coverage as well as ESPN highlights show SportsCenter focused on men’s sports.
  • The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 attracted 1.12 billion viewersi.e. 31% of the 3.57 billion viewers of the men’s edition in 2018.
  • Women’s World Cup prize pool doubled in 2019and it’s ok double again to $60 million for the 2023 tournament, which represents 7.5% of the US$440 million prize pool for the upcoming Men’s World Cup.
  • More than 500,000 tickets were sold out for UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, with games selling out in less than 24 hours and more than 90,000 attendees for the final at Wembley Stadium.
  • The 2022 WNBA Draft 403,000 viewers on averageWhere 20% more than last year.
  • Currently, women’s sport is developing at more than double the rate of men’s sports on social networks.

Let’s focus on the last point for a moment. Why talk about audience with social networks? Because of the investment value of social engagement.

Investing in women in sport is a clear bet and it has been gaining momentum faster than ever thanks to social media, not sports coverage. According to our own Kore* analysis of over 1.4 million social media posts and 27 billion fan interactions, analyzed between June 1, 2021 and June 1, 2022, women’s engagement in sport increase almost five times faster than men in the past 12 months.

We’ve identified the female athletes, leagues, and events that drive Adjusted Advertising Value (AAV) into the millions for a single post. You might be surprised to find that it is mostly athletes who fall under high growth sports, as opposed to traditional sports.

Who creates the value?

Simply put, according to our data, female athletes accounted for 95% of messages followed.

These athletes are able to tell their story in a way they couldn’t ten years ago. We no longer have to wait for traditional Olympic coverage or journalistic documentary production schedules to see super interesting stories about how these women were born, grew up, trained and lived their lives.

Social media allows fans to engage with and celebrate the individual contestant, instantly. They can have real conversations about what’s going on in their lives. Fans want to hear about the complete athlete. What type of bed do you sleep on? What do you eat for breakfast?

Now athletes can drive their own human brand and connect authentically through their brand partners, rather than brands writing the sponsor-partner narrative for the athlete.

Let’s talk about the value of TikTok

Our Kore solution can help you understand how AAV is determined. If you’re wondering what types of social media content clicks the most with the most value – whether it’s fast-paced, authentic, off-the-cuff, or clearly planned production – our data doesn’t clearly capture that. This is most likely a mix between channels. But here’s some thinking juice.

Think for a moment about your daily life. Those dark moments at home, on vacation, or with your partner, friend, or family member that make you laugh. Maybe it’s something the dog did, a story, or inspire an ad hoc dance or imitation. Either way, it’s probably spontaneous or they took a while to plan. Well, that’s usually the nature of weekly viral trends or even “planned” content on TikTok, unlike Instagram which has become a channel with a much higher time and cost to produce.

In April, 80% of TikTok users were between the ages of 16 and 34, and 60% were in the 16-24 age bracket (8). Our Kore analysis found that less than 5% of posts by women in sports were to TikTok and YouTube, yet more than two-thirds of fan engagement occurred on these two platforms.

Building trust with social data

Exactly why investment dollars for women in sport have still not reached their potential could be the subject of much speculation, but one thing is clear from the social data: growth is accelerating faster than never.

In a recent conversation, Allison Howard, president of the Kansas City Current football team, explained that in today’s market, securing investments ultimately comes down to asking with confidence. She thinks most presentations on behalf of women in sport don’t present numbers or data well, which only weakens the case for greater investment.

The most successful brands are finding ways to leverage social data to make smarter decisions. Knowing the impact of a single influencer, tracking their influence, quickly understanding stats, and knowing what content to push and when is essential. Being fully invested and knowledgeable about your data and insights will help you launch with confidence and secure your investments.


Learn how Kore’s solution can help you understand the impact and value of posting an athlete with our 2022 Sponsorship ROI whitepaper. Learn more about women in sport and top brands being promoted on social media in our recent webinar or book a demo to see our solution in action.


* The social posts analyzed were published between June 1, 2021 and June 1, 2022, a period that spanned two Olympic Games. Over 8,000 female sports organizations and female athletes, fitness influencers and gamers have been followed on platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, VK, Weibo and YouTube. Social media data includes followers, posts, engagement and rating data.


This feature is part of SportsPro’s Women’s Sport Week, a week of coverage dedicated to the industry’s next big growth opportunity and co-hosted by Two Circles. Click here to access more exclusive content and sign up for the SportsPro Daily newsletter here to receive daily news straight to your inbox.

To learn more about future SportsPro themed weeks, click here.


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