Women and Sport: how to access and make sports marketing research work for you

On 29th January, Repucom partnered with the Women and Sport seminar at the London Westminster Forum. The topic of women and sport is becoming an increasingly large research focus for many operating in sports sponsorship, both for rights holders and brands. During the event, Repucom shared the most recent research on the topic, which can be viewed and downloaded from the Women and Sport Hub: https://nielsensports.com/women-sport/ A 36 page free download is also available and provides a host of industry trends and insights into how women’s participation and buying power is beginning to shift the focus of many within the sports sponsorship industry.

Mike Wragg, Global Head of Research follows up with his comments on the event:

Here’s our top five thinking points from the day…


We’re huge fans of the http://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/ Our own research around the world (which you can access for free in the report!) shows a clear link between girls’ participation in sport in school and their lifelong interest in sport – as participants, spectators, volunteers and, crucially, as mothers shaping the attitudes and expectations of their daughters. There was a huge expansion of the girl’s access to sport around the world in the 1970s and 1980s; the daughters of those girls are the new generation of female athletes today. Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World cup this year we’re seeing this positive, empowering narrative being re-amplified with great story telling from brands looking at the same research. If you haven’t see them, check out the links on our hub to the Nike/Ellie Goulding campaign, the P&G/Like a Girl campaign and a bunch of others you’ll find there with similar themes.


An insight led approach to driving participation in sport. Lisa O’Keefe emphasised this point a lot in her compelling session at the seminar – it’s so important to understand your target audience’s motivations, behaviour and attitudes regarding sport and sport participation. Again, this absolutely resonates with all the commercial research we’ve done in this area, in particular the foundational behavioural research we did on a massive scale across 8 major markets including the UK in 2014: Fan DNA. We found seven distinctive “sports personality types” which exist amongst women in even the most diverse communities around the world, each of which have a distinctive combination of motivations and behavioural triggers and obstacles in relation to sport. Understanding these differences is the key to engaging effectively.


A joined up approach to getting women and girls engaged in sport: all speakers talked about the importance of joining up what we’re doing. We’re getting exactly the same message from the most sophisticated clients around the world, who are building network platforms which combine high performance sport, private sector and third sector brands: real partnership platforms. We’d love to work more with the public sector to leverage the research and connected solutions we’ve built to encourage real win-win investments which accelerate women’s participation at both grass roots and elite level sport in the UK


Greater Accountability. Successive speakers talked about the increasing importance of measurement and evaluation of different initiatives, and this is a huge trend we’re seeing all around the world of sport. Insights are only useful if they can be applied to unlock growth which can be measured and learnt from, so we’re continually being challenged to innovate with new evaluative methodologies and scorecards which provide an objective, fact based framework with which to do this. We’d love to collaborate and share the best practice and benchmarks we’ve see around the world – we’ve probably seen more than anyone else!


Inspirational female role models. the likes of Lizzy Armistead, Jo Pavey, Tanni Grey-Thompson and, Jessica Ennis all got a mention as being important catalyst for linking world beating sporting performance to grassroots participation. So we’ve put a big extract from our global index of global female sporting celebrities in the report for delegates – a great celebrating sporting endeavour, but hopefully a clear indication of quite how powerful this platform is for driving behaviour change – whether that’s for brands or the sports themselves.