20×20’s farewell virtual event took place yesterday and attracted a significant online audience of opinion formers and supporters of what the movement has achieved.

Martina Navratilova told her story of being herself, believing in herself and breaking boundaries. She was then joined by Sonia O’Sullivan and Brian O’Driscoll to discuss areas of how the campaign has changed matters and what needs to happen next. Below we captured highlights from social media.

Before the conversations started Sarah Colgan, co-founder of the movement released research which showed how far Women’s sport has come but also highlighting how much of the journey remains.

A key objective for 20×20 was to make women’s sport a bigger part of Irish culture by making it more visible.

Research commissioned by 20×20 and conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes details significant success here with 80% of Irish adults – rising to 84% of Irish men – saying they are more aware of women’s sport now than before the movement launched two years ago.

Three-quarters of those surveyed also say they believe that women’s sport is seen as cooler.

Of those aware of the campaign, 73% – rising to 75% of men – say that 20×20 changed their mindset positively towards girls and women in sport, with 68% stating they support women in sport more because of 20×20, and 42% of women saying they now participate in more sport because of the movement.

More to do

Despite this progress though, women’s sport still lags far behind men’s sport when it comes to participation, attendance and media coverage.

In terms of media coverage, research conducted by Nielsen at the outset of the campaign found that just 4% of sport’s online coverage and 3% of sport’s print coverage was dedicated to women’s sport.

By the end of 2019, each of these had grown by 2%, up to 5% for online and 6% for print.

TV coverage of women’s sport meanwhile saw a 40% decrease in the same period, even though coverage of women’s sport grew across both RTÉ and TG4.

Despite the decline in coverage levels, the audience of women’s sport on TV grew from 7% in 2018 to 18% in 2019. Participation grew by 13% while attendance in women’s sport increased by 17% during this period.

Some other key findings came out of the research, including the fact that 73% of the general population (and 80% of sports fans) agreed that ‘greater visibility of women’s sports and athletes is crucial to growing women’s sport’.

Similarly, over 3 in 4 of the general population believe sponsors should invest in both versions of sport and that sponsors should support women’s sport. Indeed, fans show higher purchase intentions for brands who sponsor women’s sport, with half of the population, – and 60% of females – also saying that they would be more inclined to purchase from brands that support women’s sport.





Sport for Business Partners