Can it be true that only 26% of UK sports fans are female?

YouGov Sport put out some nice research the other day, looking at sports fans across various European markets.

One of the most startling pieces of data is that only 26% of sports fans in the UK are female – a much lower figure than any other country in Europe, where it’s at least 40%.

Can this be true or is it just a quirk of the data sample?

Women’s sport has certainly had an upsurge in recent years, with far greater visibility and some excellent work being done by the likes of England Netball, the ECB and The FA to promote the women’s game, and the FAWSL has started to attract genuine global stars like Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle.

Obviously, a higher profile for women’s sport doesn’t necessarily translate into more female fans – women don’t just watch women’s sport, and the same goes for men. But, you would expect a higher profile for female sport to have some impact. Maybe these developments just haven’t yet fed through into the data.

I suspect the 26% number is a bit low – I have seen other reports putting it a more like 40%. However, even at 40%, there is still much work to do (and a massive opportunity) for sports in the UK to make themselves much more relevant and appealing to women.

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