Daily Digest: Women’s sport in UK set to generate £1bn in revenue by 2030

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In today's news: Women's sport touted as fastest growing sector in the sports industry, British Wheelchair Basketball launch inaugural women's league, and WSL referees take step closer to becoming professional.

Closing the Visibility Gap study

A study carried out by the Women’s Sports Trust – titled “Closing the Visibility Gap” – has predicted the revenue generated by women’s sport in the UK is set to grow to £1bn a year by 2030. This makes it one of the fastest growing sectors in the sports industry.

The study, produced in collaboration with data and insight agency Two Circles, is the most comprehensive study ever produced into the commercial drivers of women’s sport.

The research found that existing interest in women’s sport is strong, but the sports industry has so far underinvested in increasing the visibility of female athletes. This in turn has limited rights owners' ability to commercialise growing interest in women’s sport.

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“Women’s sport has been on a strong growth trajectory,” said Women’s Sport Trust chief executive and co-founder Tammy Parlour MBE.

“However, most sport played by elite female athletes still has a long way to go until it becomes commercially viable. To achieve long-lasting change, and for women’s sport to occupy a central role in our culture in the UK, the sports industry must widely recognise a social responsibility to building sport for all, and practically connect a vision for women’s sport to long-term commercial profit.”

More can be found out about the report here.


PGMOL to oversee WSL and Championship referees

The FA has confirmed the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) – the body responsible for match officials in English professional football – will oversee the management of referees in the Women’s Super League and Championship from next season.

England’s top referees in the women’s game will now gain access to the same facilities, training and support that those in the men’s game receive.

“This is a major step for our match officials in their development and I’m confident that PGMOL have the right infrastructure to provide them with the necessary support to ensure they continue to develop, and deliver at the highest standard within the professional game,” said Kelly Simmons, the FA's director of the women's professional game.

“The women’s game has moved on significantly over the last few years and we must ensure that our referees are provided the right environment to move with it. We have a highly dedicated and passionate pool of officials, and the time is now right that their development opportunities align with that of the men’s professional game.”

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Women's wheelchair basketball league announced

British Wheelchair Basketball has announced the creation of an inaugural Women’s Premier League. The league will be the first of its kind for women’s wheelchair basketball in the world, and the very first professional Para-sport league in the UK. The first season is scheduled to run from December 2021 to May 2022.

British Wheelchair Basketball also announced four High-Performance Partnerships, operating at university sites across the UK. The universities will each be home to a Women’s Premier League team. Cardiff Metropolitan University, Loughborough University, University of East London and University of Worcester have all been chosen.

“I am absolutely delighted to be announcing the creation of British Wheelchair Basketball’s Women’s Premier League and our new High-Performance Partnerships,” said British Wheelchair Basketball’s chief executive Lisa Pearce.

“The league will provide incredible opportunities for elite female talent, both in the UK and internationally and we expect the teams to attract the best players in the world.”


Players selected for 2021 Roses Academy

Twenty-nine netball players have been chosen for the 2021 Roses Academy after a selection weekend at Loughborough University. The selected athletes will attend camps in May and July, with the aim to be selected for competitive competition in July.

The Roses Academy long squad was first announced in December 2020. The group trained together virtually and took part in educational sessions on Zoom, as well as coming together for a day camp in March.

The full list of selected athletes can be found here.


Marozsán and Bouhaddi sign for OL Reign

NWSL side OL Reign have announced the signings of Dzsenifer Marozsán and Sarah Bouhaddi from sister club Olympique Lyonnais.

The pair will join the team on loan in early June, staying for the remainder of the 2021 NWSL season.

Both players will add serious pedigree to OL Reign. Marozsán, who has more than 100 caps for Germany, has won the Champions League and Division 1 Féminine with Lyon for the past four years. At 28, the attacking midfielder is in the prime of her career.

French international goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi has earned 11 Division 1 Féminine titles with Lyon, also achieving seven Champions League winner medals. The 34-year-old was named the Best FIFA Goalkeeper last year.

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