Women’s Sports: TV viewers take off

Posted on July 22, 2022 at 12:00 PM

Sports fans’ interest in women’s competitions continues to grow. The situation where you can feel the evolution of the number of viewers and the channel schedule.

The first example of this success: the women’s soccer euro currently being played. Les Bleues, who defeated Italy, attracted more than 5 million viewers in the opening match and gained a 28% audience share (PdA) between TF1 and co-broadcaster Canal +.

In the remaining Le Bruce games, 4.5 million and 4.3 million viewers were at the same level against Belgium and Iceland. “So far, we have an average of 1 million viewers compared to Euro 2017,” calculates Publicis Media expert Philippe Nouchi.

However, the expert emphasizes that “TF1 expected an audience of 6 to 7 million and reduced its advertising rate by about 35%.” The first channel may have overestimated the effectiveness of the World Cup since 2019. The competition, which was contested in France, gained a record audience.

Therefore, future Euro knockout matches will be a real test. They promise a much higher audience. By the way, 3.7 million supporters gathered in the quarterfinals of the Euro 2017 in France and the United Kingdom, which was broadcast on France Television.

Great audience for handball and rugby

But football is not the only popular women’s sporting event. Despite losing in the world finals, Les Bleues du handball gained one of the best viewers last December, with 4.3 million viewers. A number equivalent to the men’s Olympic final, which won the gold medal in Tokyo last August.

The same observation in the elliptical world. The five French XV conferences attracted an average of 1.3 million people with a PdA of 12.1%. And this year, France Television aired the Six Nations tournament for the first time on the group’s flagship channel, France 2, which usually took place in France 4.

“Very positive” underlying trends

In fact, television groups are no longer limiting women’s competition to their smaller channels. And the latter is gaining weight in the overall sport of television. According to the latest Arcom survey conducted on all French television in 2017, 7% of sports broadcasts were women’s competitions in 2012, a figure that rose between 16% and 20% in 2016. Since then, this trend has increased.

For Laurent-Eric LeLay, sports director of France Télévisions, women’s sports competitions must be allowed to be resolved in the long run. The spectator must be given time to get to know the athlete. […] But overall, the underlying trends in women’s sports remain very positive. »»

Same treatment to approach parity

Tactically, in order to maximize viewership, the channel no longer “ghettos” women’s sports, but strives to treat them at the same time as men’s competitions. Jérôme Saporito, director of the L’Equipe channel, explains that he never uses the term “women’s sports”. “At Biathlon, one of our most popular sports, we make no distinction between women’s and men’s competitions. »»

Same story as a Eurosport colleague. A paid channel that fully broadcasts the Tour de France Women treats men and women alike. “Events are categorized from gold to bronze according to their importance, but men’s events that fall into gold are just as important as women’s tendencies,” explains Gerald Dimpons, Group’s customer relationship manager. To do. Today, 23% of the sports broadcast on Eurosport are women’s competitions.

But the road to parity is still long. In the “Night Session” broadcast by Amazon Prime Video set up by Roland Garros, the organizer chose only one female match throughout the tournament. The fact remains that women’s sports have entered a virtuous circle.