The popularity of women's sport is rising after new Commonwealth Bank research revealed almost half of Australians are tuning in to watch a match.
Increased interest in women’s sport is being driven by greater exposure through TV broadcasting (31 per cent), more positive media coverage (30 per cent) and the rise of high profile female athletes in Australia (21 per cent).
Coverage of women's sport grew in the past 12 months with fans having access to every W-League, WBBL, Super W and AFLW game through either streaming or TV.
Cricket was one particular sport that saw groundbreaking records as 2.5 million Aussies tuned in to the opening WBBL match while Australia's matches have attracted an average national audience of more than 200,000.
Australian international all-star cricketer and ommBank Cricket Ambassador Ellyse Perry said that the increased support is fantastic to see.
“It’s fantastic to see increased support for women’s cricket and I can feel women and girls are changing the game. Increased exposure and continued investment into women’s cricket helps inspire girls across the country, from grassroots to elite, to pick up a bat and ball.”
Aussie Rules was the most womens popular sport across five states in Australia with football (soccer) being the top in NSW and the ACT while cricket was most popular in Queensland.
While the top end of women's sport is seeing progress, there is still work to be done at a grassroots level.
Research shows that the main barriers preventing young girls from taking up sport include the lack of girls teams to join, the perception that certain sports are ‘male’ and girls not wanting to play if their friends aren’t playing.
Cricket Australia and CommBank have played large roles in helping break down the barriers with the Growing Cricket for Girls Fund to help develop new girl’s competitions and grow established competitions.
Over the past two years, the Fund has supported around 750 clubs, associations and schools, with 73 new girls’ competitions launched.
Note: The Commonwealth Bank Women in Sport 2019 Study, which was undertaken by ACA Research in December 2018, saw 1,023 Australians over the age of 18 take part.