The UK sees record audiences tune into international women's sporting events in 2023
The GIST: Although the UK saw declining viewership numbers in domestic soccer and cricket matches, British viewers were chuffed to watch international women’s sporting events as 2023 saw record audiences across several sports. Extraordinary every day.
⛳ Solheim Cup: The women’s golf tournament drew a record UK audience in 2023, including 9.5M hours viewed compared to the previous high of 6.3M hours in 2021. It was also the country’s largest average live audience for a women’s-only sports property on UK pay television this year.
⚽ WSL: The English women’s soccer league’s ten opening matches saw a 25.8% decline in viewing hours YoY amid a reduction in coverage. And while Sky’s average WSL audience declined 20.5% YoY, the BBC saw a slight annual increase due to the league’s second-most watched game ever: Arsenal vs. Aston Villa and its average audience of 746K.
🏏 The Hundred: While average audiences have fallen 15.5% since its first season, viewing hours have increased by 14.2% YoY. Even better, women cricketers saw their highest UK summer audiences on record: 7.4M viewers watched at least three minutes, and the Hundred tournament final set a domestic cricket record. Great googly moogly.
🏉 Red Roses: The UK women’s rugby series with Canada racked up 234K online views across Facebook and YouTube — even though no broadcaster aired the matches. For shame.
Zooming out: The next step is to cultivate and cater to a growing UK fan base year-round — that means more match broadcasts today, and a 24-hour women’s sports news cycle tomorrow. It’s about time, innit?