Gender Inequality

Women's sport is to be aired on free-to-watch TV in Britain

Soccer Football - Women’s Super League - Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - September 8, 2019   Chelsea players applaud fans after the match      Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs - RC199CC82900

Women's football has seen a surge in interest since the World Cup earlier this year. Image: Action Images via Reuters

Paul Sandle
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Gender Inequality?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Gender Inequality is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Gender Inequality

The biggest events in women's sport should be "listed" to guarantee they are broadcast on British free-to-air television so mass audiences can watch and be inspired, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said on Wednesday.

Over two decades ago, Britain drew up a list of sporting events of national interest, such as the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup Finals and the Grand National horse race, that must be made available to free-to-air broadcasters on a fair and reasonable basis.

The aim was to ensure the "crown jewels" of sport could be watched by viewers who did not want to subscribe to pay-TV services like Sky, which had large budgets to pay for rights.

Morgan said she had written to TV rights holders to advocate adding major women's sporting events to the list, bringing parity with the men's events already included.

"A record-breaking 28.1 million people tuned into (this year's) Women's World Cup. I want to build on this momentum and make sure future generations of female sporting talent can be inspired by who they see on their screens," she told the RTS television industry conference in Cambridge.

"I have written to the relevant rights holders to seek their views about adding women's sporting events to the listed events regime."

She said that where a men's event was listed, the women's equivalent would be too.

"This would be an important step in giving female sporting talent the coverage they deserve and putting men's and women's sport on an equal footing at last," said Morgan, who was appointed in July.

The FIFA Women's World Cup, the Women's FA and Scottish FA Cup Finals could be added to the main list, while women's Test Cricket matches could be put on a secondary list for highlights packages.

Have you read?

Morgan also told TV executives in Cambridge that British broadcasters must be more creative to ensure they held their own against subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix.

"Those that do not pool their resources and talent will find it difficult to succeed in this new age," she said.

Britain's two biggest free-to-air channels, the commercial ITV and the licence-fee funded BBC, have joined forces to launch a British-focused SVOD called Britbox.

ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said the company was preparing for Britbox's launch before the end of the year.

It will be priced at 5.99 pounds a month, in line with a basic standard-definition Netflix subscription in Britain but higher than the 4.99 pounds Apple has said it will charge for its new Apple TV+ service.

McCall said audience research had shown that customers thought it was still good value.

"The most important thing will be to ensure that we communicate that really, really well to consumers in many different ways: it's value and the concept, (and) how distinctive a proposition it is," she said.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Gender InequalityEducationMedia, Entertainment and Sport
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Bridging the financial literacy gender gap: Here are 5 digital inclusion projects making a difference

Claude Dyer and Vidhi Bhatia

April 18, 2024

4:31

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum