Women's Super League drives record UK viewing figures for women's sport

The Women's Super League and Women's Six Nations have been key factors behind the boost in popularity. Credit: PA

More people are watching women’s sport than ever before, according to a leading charity.

Women’s Sport Trust has shared research showing 17.9 million tuned in to coverage over the first three months of 2022 – up from 6.7 million over the same period last year.

The average viewing time per person across all women’s programming was 122 minutes, the charity claims, which is almost double last year’s figure of 68 minutes.

“These encouraging figures support our longstanding view that if women’s sport is made visible, then audiences will watch,” said Tammy Parlour, CEO of the Women’s Sport Trust.

“It validates the commitment that UK broadcasters are making to unprecedented visibility of women’s sport.”

A total of 15.1 million people watched three minutes or more coverage, which is higher than the peak of 10.2 million in 2019 and almost triple last year’s figure of 5.06 million.

Of those, 57% who have watched any women’s sport in 2022 so far also watched coverage in 2021, suggesting they are repeat viewers.

The most watched sport is the Women’s Super League (WSL), with 58% tuning in, followed by the Women’s Six Nations, with a share of 25%.

The football Arnold Clark Cup clocked up 24% of viewers and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup had a share of 13%.

The figures come just three days ahead of the WSL's final weekend, with the league title still to be decided as Arsenal travel to West Ham knowing they will be champions if they can better Chelsea’s result against Manchester United.

“The growing overall numbers for women’s sport, aligned to increasing habit, is particularly exciting for creating a commercially sustainable offering,” Ms Parlour said.

“Particularly ahead of a huge year for women’s sport with the likes of the Women’s Euros, a Rugby World Cup for women, and the Women’s Rugby League World Cup still to come.

“There has never been a better time for brands to consider investing in women’s sport for the first time.”