Sport-Women's sport draws record viewership in 2023 - UK research

Soccer Football - Women's Super League - Manchester City v Leicester City - Manchester City Academy Stadium, Manchester, Britain - February 4, 2024 Manchester City's Chloe Kelly celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

(Reuters) - A record 46.7 million viewers in Britain tuned in to watch women's sport on TV in 2023, eclipsing 2019's mark by almost a million, according to research published by the Women's Sport Trust on Tuesday.

The FIFA Women's World Cup final, which England lost 1-0 to Spain at Stadium Australia, was 2023's most-watched women's sport event on TV with 38.4 million viewing hours.

The figures, which reflected viewers tuning in for at least one minute of women's sport on linear TV, showed the average viewing time increased by 16% to 10 hours and seven minutes per person, compared with eight hours and 44 minutes in 2022.

"The industry needs to capitalise on these opportunities to drive further awareness and engagement, so we can continue to broaden the audience for women's sports, and reach the fans where they are," CEO of Women's Sport Trust Tammy Parlour said.

"Women's sport is attracting more younger, female fans which is great news for the industry as it shows we are starting to attract a distinctive fanbase."

For pay-TV, day three of the Solheim Cup, which was retained by Europe after a 14-14 draw against Team USA in September, was the most watched women's sports event with 3.1 million viewing hours.

The research also showed that the Women's World Cup generated 25.7 million streams on digital platform BBC iPlayer, an increase of 75% from the 2019 edition.

While domestic sport consumption on TV declined by 5%, the Women's Sport Trust said social media platform TikTok played a key role in increasing Women's Super League video views by 268% over 2022's figure to 150 million views.

It added that football remained the most-watched sport with 74% of viewing hours, followed by cricket (15%), rugby union (5%) and golf (3%).

(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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