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Female sport on TV - the great non-debate

22 Mar 2013, 11:43 IST

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect that of Sportskeeda.  

Gender equality. It’s one hell of a topic to tackle on a light-hearted sports magazine website. For centuries women around the world have been fighting the good fight for equal opportunities in all manner of areas, and rightly so. There is absolutely no reason that a woman should be discriminated against in the workplace, in democracy or in any other general walk of life. But in sport, the incessant noise surrounding increased exposure of women’s sport is misguided at best and downright idiotic at worst.

Getty Images)

97% of Sky Sports’ viewership is male. (Getty Images)

In the UK, both the media and entertainment industries are split two ways – public and commercial. The BBC, which is publicly funded by a mandatory ‘TV License’, has a moral responsibility (among dozens of others), to give a platform to areas that traditionally get less exposure. Their sport programme isn’t as extensive as it was, hiding behind the excuse that their commercial rivals, especially Sky TV, have the resources to outbid them at a whim.

Commercial TV is different. Terrestrial and digital channels are at the beck and call of their advertisers, and require viewers to stay alive in this respect. Sky have the same issue, along with a responsibility to carry the very best sport to their subscribers, many of whom pay pounds ten for the Sky Sports channels alone.

And this is where the problem lies. Elite level women are not as fast or strong as elite level men. It’s just not as good as the men’s equivalent, so why is there some sort of accepted belief that people want to pay to watch it?

The fact is that they don’t. Otherwise it would be on. Women’s sport gets its scheduled run out at Wimbledon and major athletics events, but if there was a genuine clamour for more female sport on television, then market research would no doubt make sure that this was the case.

It’s the same argument for minor sports as it is for the female equivalent, but funnily enough, the debate for more bass fishing airtime carries less weight than where campaigners can label it under the PR cauldron of ‘gender equality’. There is no counter argument that won’t be labelled sexist, and as the screw tightens, expect to see more women’s sport on TV that nobody will watch, which is frankly ridiculous.

97% of Sky Sports’ viewership is male. Asking for equal coverage in sport is like asking the lin for equal opportunities. Sport is an area that is, in the vast majority, watched by men, played by men and covered by men. The near exclusivity of male sport on TV is just good business.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect that of Sportskeeda.  

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