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Women are the key consumer and decision makers - Sport Executive

Women are the key consumer and decision makers

Is sport as we know it at a turning point? In this interview, the Female Sports Group tells about a new future for women’s sports.

Women are the key consumer and decision makers
Photo: Adidas

Women’s sports is a niche. Its commercial success, participation figures, media coverage and attendance lag far behind men’s sports. But maybe the future looks different?
According to Fraser Houlder and John Postlethwaite, that could be the case. In 2015 the two men created the Female Sports Group, which is dedicated to increasing commercial funding for female sports rights holders by using their experience and contacts to highlight the commercial and marketing benefits of sponsoring these sports. More specifically, the Female Sports Group intends to be a major contributor towards helping raise the share of sponsorship investment in women’s sport from 0.2 percent to 3 percent of the sports market by 2018.


“We believe that female and mixed gender sports are at a tipping point; participation, media coverage and attendances at events are all growing; yet results, performance and achievements in these sectors currently outstrip commercial investment. However, we believe that – as female sport continues to grow, globally mixed gender and female sports provide the biggest growth opportunity for brands and broadcasters over the next 10 years. In addition to the CSR, marketing, brand and other benefits, there is a very strong commercial argument for sponsoring females and mixed gender sport. Women are the ‘alpha’-consumer and the key decision maker and purchaser in most households. Women have more buying power than ever before as there are more commercially independent women. Female Sports Group has been created to help highlight the significant value for money opportunities that are available in women’s sport globally and in the UK,” director at Female Sports Group, Fraser Houlder, says to Sport Executive.

Overwhelming positive

“We believe that female sport will continue to grow. The Aviva Women’s Tour cycling race concluded last week and this event showed that if presented, managed and promoted well fans will turn up and support the event and the media will cover it. This event will continue to grow, as will other female sports events as they are presented better. England Netball have developed their events and now Sky are showing more live netball games in 2015 than ever before. In 2014 Sky’s TV audience for netball grew 40% over 2013. Sponsors entering female sport will enable the sports to make the biggest steps forward.”


“How has the reaction been?”
“The reaction from governing bodies, sponsors and everybody has been overwhelming positive. We have met with a very large number of governing bodies to learn more about female and mixed gender sports and the opportunities within it and we now are working with a number of these. We have on-going discussions with a number of sponsors who agree that this is an area of interest and are keen to explore the opportunities within female sport.”
“Your group is dedicated to increasing sponsorship investment from its current levels. Is that realistic?”
“Yes, we are dedicated to increasing sponsorship investment and four months on from our launch we believe more than ever before the time is right and sponsors are interested in these opportunities. SSE have recently become the title sponsor of the Women’s FA Cup in a four year six figure deal proof of a moving market.”




Travel 82 %

Film 79 %

Music 77 %

Fashion 66 %

Culture 64 %

Technology 61 %

Sport 46 %


Under 50:

Very interested: 17 %

Interested: 31 %

A little interested: 28 %

Not interested: 24 %

Over 50:

Very interested: 12 %

Interested: 24 %

A little interested: 30 %

Not interested: 34 %


Age 16-29:

Football 65 %

Tennis 48 %

Figure skating 47 %

Age 30-49:

Football 67 %

Tennis 53 %

Athletics 53 %

Age 50-69

Figure skating 58 %

Football 55 %

Athletics 53 %

Source: Repucom