“Vicious cycle of male popularity” harms women’s sponsorship chances
The research paper, entitled “Sports Women as Brand Ambassadors: Prospects, Challenges and Possibilities”, lead by Emmanuel Mogaji PhD, revealed sportsmen are favoured by brands due to having higher profiles and larger audiences.
The study involved interviews with brand managers, sportswomen and consumers to gather insights on how female athletes can improve their commercial viability and boost revenue. It revealed several key challenges keeping women’s sport in the shadows.
“Sports women believe they face inherent limitations because of their gender, physical strength and societal expectations,” wrote Mogaji.
In addition, brand managers confirmed the lack of media coverage as a justification for not using sports women as ambassadors. Mogaji identified this as the biggest challenge of all – “the vicious cycle of male popularity,” – with sportsmen having the most media exposure, larger audiences and, therefore, the most product endorsement.
Initiatives such as #Whatif by Women in Football and #thisgirlcan by Sport England have helped women’s struggle for sponsorship become a bigger talking point globally. The need to promote women’s sport and increase the exposure of its athletes gained extra momentum recently, following the fact that not a single women featured in Forbes list of top 100 earning athletes .
“We were able to identify key challenges, some of which female athletes have no control over, however, we offered recommendations on how these issues can be improved,” said Mogaji.
To tackle the lack of media coverage, the report recommends female athletes take control of their own promotion and build a personal brand that can be shared through platforms such as social media. In turn, brands need a more creative outlook to see women’s sport sponsorship as a commercially viable vehicle to build a more more level playing field for female athletes, enabling them to find opportunities as brand ambassadors.
If you’re an athlete interested in connecting with brands, register with caytoo.