Measuring the Success of Women’s Sports Programming

 

A SeeHer Series

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, there’s much to cheer about. Yet the game is far from over. The advancement of women’s sports has been slowed by a lack of resources in measurement and comprehensive assessment tools. To meet this challenge, SeeHer’s initiative, SeeHer in Sports, has just launched the SeeHer in Sports Scorecard Powered by AT&T.

The new tool was inspired by SeeHer’s Gender Equality Measure® (GEM®), the first global data-driven methodology to identify gender bias in media. The Scorecard allows brands, sports leagues, and media organizations to quantify and benchmark their gender equality initiatives and programming. The information collected from the Scorecard will provide crucial insight into representation in sports and will allow the industry to reflect and connect with female consumers. In this week’s blog, SeeHer EVP/Membership Christine Guilfoyle discusses the iterative process of creating the Scorecard, how it will fill the data gap, and how the resource will increase awareness and growth in women’s sports.

In 2020, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) put a new media rights deal in place. Viewership rocketed up 476% and social media engagement rose 15%, including a 350% increase in male fans, compared to the year before.

In 2019, Budweiser became the official beer of the NWSL, and in the same year saw a 1,075% year-over-year increase in fans of women’s sports exhibiting behaviors directly correlating to Budweiser. Also, that year Visa became an official sponsor of the U.S. Women’s National Team (also soccer) and benefitted from a whopping 2,700% year-over-year increase in fans of women’s sports exhibiting behaviors directly correlating to Visa.

Clearly, there is progress being made in women’s sports, although arguably not enough, especially given how women are fans of sports programming. Women have overtaken men as pro sports’ biggest fans, now representing 52% of all who watch, listen, or stream. But the game is far from over.

Every SeeHer member will tell you that despite the obvious progress we are so rightly proud of, there’s so much more to do. We all agreed that what was needed was a tool to drive real change in organizations which commit to it, and benchmark progress.

Three years ago we launched a task force of members, sports, and industry leaders to bring their expertise to the gender equality table. Creating a vertical workstream of focus around the representation and distribution of women’s sports programming was the goal.

Last week we launched the first resource, the SeeHer in Sports Scorecard Powered by AT&T. The telecom, a SeeHer member, utilized its vast resources and scale to spearhead the framework for this new resource based uon our SeeHer Gender Equality Measure®.

There are five versions, one each for brands, media, leagues, teams, and venues. Each includes a series of questions customized to that group’s particular constituents and is organized into three buckets: awareness, representation, and improvement.

For example, the brand Scorecard asks, “What percentage of your sports sponsorship budget goes to women’s sports?” For media, there’s a question on what percentage of the platform’s total sports programming is dedicated to women’s sports. And all five versions include the question “What percentage of improvements are you willing to commit to in the next five years?”

Fifty years of progress isn’t enough. We can’t let the Title IX anniversary dwindle in our rearview mirror and be forgotten. The Scorecard is truly a milestone for the industry to make progress to SeeHer in Sports.

The Scorecard is available on seeher.com.

 

About SeeHer

SeeHer is a global coalition of committed marketers, media leaders, agencies and industry influencers united in the mission to increase the accurate portrayal of women and girls in marketing, advertising, media, and entertainment, so they see themselves as they truly are and in all their potential. Led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), in partnership with The Female Quotient (The FQ), SeeHer has become the industry’s leading global voice for gender equality in advertising and media. To help benchmark success, in 2016 SeeHer developed the Gender Equality Measure (GEM®), the first research methodology that quantifies gender bias in ads and programming. GEM® has become the global measurement standard, measuring 200,000+ ads, representing 87 percent of worldwide ad spend. SeeHer also developed #WriteHerRight Guides to encourage content creators to address potential blind spots and unconscious biases and integrate more authentic and nuanced depictions of women into their work. To address the specific inequities in the sports and music industries, SeeHer launched two verticals: SeeHer in Sports and SeeHer Hear Her. Gender equality and intersectionality in advertising and media is an imperative. It is good for business and good for society.

 

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