All high-performance organisations pay close attention to their talent, markets, brand, innovation, risk management and reputation. These are business fundamentals, not fringe concerns – and each one is directly affected by gender diversity and inclusion – or the lack of it.
What has this got to do with the funding of women’s sport? Companies that choose to invest in women’s sport send out a clear message about their brand and their people: a message of a forward-thinking, intelligent and innovative business that has the ability to recruit and retain the best talent whilst also sourcing new avenues of opportunity. Meaningful sponsorship can also provide proof to a cynical world that statements about being inclusive are more than just talk.
There is an unstoppable momentum behind the professional and commercial development of women’s sport. The government is working hard to invest in sport for women as illustrated by the recent Sport England, multi-million pound campaign ‘This Girl Can’.
There has been significant increase in media coverage and audiences for women’s sport over the past two years and this is continuing to grow. Women’s football alone saw a tripling of its broadcast coverage from 2013 to 2014, increasing the sport’s commercial value. The world-class events calendar is developing all the time, providing partners with the scope to shape existing events – or build entirely new ones.
What business doesn’t want to be associated with innovation, authentic and compelling role models, high performance, great events, positive media coverage and audience growth? The potential brand advantages are just waiting to be realised by organisations bold enough to make a move. Businesses like Newton, Kia, Waitrose, Investec, BT, Nike, Vauxhall, Continental Tyres and Microsoft have set the pace but the market is still young and the opportunities plentiful.
However compelling the case for investment – it’s not always easy to navigate an emerging market. Expert guidance and insight can help match the right organisations to the right sports, events or individuals. It can convert positive intent into firm commitment. This is why the Women’s Sport Trust is forming an alliance with Y Sport, the new sports management and sponsorship consultancy aimed solely at opportunities in women’s sport.
WST is committed to bringing about change – not just talking about it – and Y Sport will help WST to achieve its ambitions to shift the funding landscape for women’s sport for good. Y Sport will also donate 10 % of its profits to WST.
Y Sport has been founded by Sally Horrox, an expert on women’s sport, commercial and broadcast partnerships. She is joined by Jo Bostock, who will link Y Sport to WST and provide inclusive leadership expertise, as well as sports and business transformation expert, Tony Copsey. They will work with business, media and sport to reinforce the rationale for commercial investment by:
- Re-shaping existing commercial opportunities for sport and individual sports women
- Creating new opportunities through increased investment • Demonstrating a genuine return on this investment
Y Sport would welcome the opportunity to meet with organisations and individuals who would like to be trailblazers in this area.
Please contact: Sally Horrox on firstname.lastname@example.org