Following the crowd, big sponsors are finally fans of women’s pro sports

After years on the sidelines, big corporations are finally getting in the game of sponsoring women’s pro sports.

May 9, 2019

Big brands such as AT&T, Budweiser, and Barclay’s, which have historically bankrolled only men’s professional sports leagues, are finally hopping on the bandwagon to support women’s leagues, Axios reports.

More people are watching women’s sports

Sponsors follow broadcasters. From 2011 to 2013, 0.4% of sponsor dollars went to women’s sports, and only 3.2% of broadcast time was dedicated to women’s sports in 2014.

But that’s starting to change. The WNBA recently signed a multi-year deal with CBS that will double its TV exposure, and sponsors are following.

AT&T recently became the first non-apparel company to sign a league-wide contract with the WNBA, and Budweiser recently stamped its first women’s soccer deal.

The dream stream

Women’s sports are moving into the mainstream (emphasis on the stream). Streaming services have helped athletes like Serena Williams become mega-stars.

In 2018, the women’s US Open final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka drew 50% more viewers than the men’s final.

But it’s not all rainbows out there: The US women’s national soccer team is suing the US Soccer Federation over pay disparities, and women’s hockey players who make as little as $2k per year are currently on strike.

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