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Women’s sport viewership on the rise in the UK

Study reveals record-breaking viewership numbers for women’s sport in 2023

According to research by the Women’s Sport Trust (WST), the first four months of 2023 delivered unprecedented TV viewership for women’s sport in the UK. 

It has been revealed that 20.6 million people watched at least three minutes of women’s sport coverage between January 1 and April 30 this year. In 2022, the same period attracted 18.9 million viewers.

Thanks largely to high-profile events such as the Women’s Six Nations, Women’s Super League (WSL), Arnold Clark Cup and ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, women’s sport has thrived in 2023.

In fact, this year’s Women’s Six Nations was the most viewed in history, as the tournament racked up 10.4 million viewing hours. To put things into perspective, the previous best was 7.7 million in 2022. It is also worth noting that 42% of the competition’s fans were female.

Tammy Parlour, the chief executive of the Women’s Sport Trust, said:

“The unstoppable rise of women’s sport is again illustrated by these record-breaking figures.”

“It is hugely encouraging to see that a number of sports, including football, rugby union and cricket, are attracting record audiences in the first four months of 2023.”

In addition to the rise in popularity of rugby, women’s football has enjoyed record viewership this year. 15.3 million UK viewers watched three minutes or more of live WSL action on TV up to April 30, while 14.6 million tuned in throughout the entirety of the previous season.

The Arnold Clark Cup – an invitational football tournament hosted by the Football Association (FA) – reached approximately 1.5 million more people in 2023, while 4.6 million watched at least three minutes of the competition.

Cricket’s T20 World Cup also enjoyed a marked increase in viewership earlier this year, accumulating 7.11 million live TV viewing hours. Notably, the 2018 edition of the women’s tournament recorded 5.77 million.

Fans of women’s sport have a lot more action to look forward to this year. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup takes place in Australia and New Zealand between July and August, while the Women’s Ashes kicks off in England in June.

If the first four months of 2023 are anything to go by, it would not be a shock if women’s sporting events continued to break viewership records this year.

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