LONDON, UK, 28th July — The Women’s Sport Trust has praised the visibility achieved by England women’s footballers during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 that has put a huge spotlight on women’s sport.

England’s win over Sweden on Tuesday saw a five-minute broadcast peak figure of 9.3m, with a one-minute peak of 9.5m. This is the highest peak of any UK sports programme of the year, beating the previous high this year of 8.2 million for the men’s FA Cup Final. The BBC also revealed that there were two million streams across the BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and App.

This peak was the fourth highest of any broadcast across all genres so far this year, after the Queen’s Jubilee on 4th June, which peaked with 15.3 million viewers. The other most watched moments were the Eurovision Song Contest and the Queen’s Jubilee on 5th June.

Tuesday’s broadcast was also the highest average audience for a sports programme in 2022 so far, with an average audience for the entire programme of 6.7 million (the average audience for the match was 7.9 million), beating the previous best of 5.5 million for Scotland-England in the Men’s Six Nations.

 “The Lionesses’ success has shown once again the demand for women’s sport when you make it visible to audiences,” said Tammy Parlour, CEO at Women’s Sport Trust.

 “We wish the team the best of luck on Sunday against Germany and hope that a record-breaking audience will get to enjoy women’s sport, in some instances watching live women’s football for the first time. As our research has shown previously, once audiences discover women’s sport, millions go on to watch more women’s sport in the future.” 

Earlier this year, the Women’s Sport Trust and Futures Sport & Entertainment revealed that the first quarter of 2022 was the most watched Q1 for women’s sport on record in the UK.  15.1 million watched 3 minutes or more of women’s sport coverage in Q1 (Jan – March), in comparison to 5.06m in 2021 and a previous peak of 10.2 million in 2019.

The Barclays FA Women’s Super League, which saw a new partnership between BBC and Sky begin in the 2021-22 season, saw particularly impressive growth in viewership which included:

  • A near four-fold increase in viewing hours of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League – up from 8,830,000 in the 2020/21 season to 34,048,000 in 2021/22
  • 113 per cent more hours of coverage of The Barclays FA Women’s Super League (WSL) on UK broadcast channels in the 2021/22 season (518 hours) versus 2020/21 season (243 hours)

Last year, the Women’s Sport Trust and Two Circles released a report that projected revenue generated by women’s sport in the UK is set to grow to £1bn a year by 2030 – up from £350m a year  – making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the sports industry. The key to unlocking this impressive growth will be the increased visibility of female athletes and teams.

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The research and figures for this study were provided by Futures Sport and Entertainment, sourced by BARB.