Women’s sport has never been stronger in terms of public appeal and media coverage but it is still in the foothills of what could and should be the level of engagement that we have through mainstream and major online media with the events that are taking place.
Since the end of the 20X20 campaign, in a quieter fashion than might have been hoped due to the not inconsiderable matter of Covid-19, there is no longer a single source of nudging and holding to account those who have committed to doing better.
Sport for Business has been pushing the agenda of equal respect for sport regardless of gender since our very first Round Table event on that very subject in the Croke Park Hotel almost a decade ago.
With that in mind we have taken it upon ourselves on an occasional basis to check in on the level of coverage which is being delivered in relation to Women’s sport.
It is not done to throw stones at any outlets in particular, but rather to have an independent voice with the occasional ear of the sporting and sponsorship community to cast an eye over what is being delivered.
This past weekend was one where the Irish Men’s International football match was always likely to dominate and one that had no major landmark events for Irish international Women’s teams or in Gaelic Games.
And yet the pages are there to be filled and sport is a broad church so we identified nine sports where there was national or international Irish interest in Women’s sport and had a look at how they were covered.
The one to be covered across each of the five media we have always used as a benchmark, the Irish Times, Independent and Examiner as well as RTE Online and The 42 from the digital world, was the Evoke.ie Women’s FAI Cup Semi Finals.
The 42 gave them the widest coverage with a total of 55 paragraphs of previews and reports, followed by the Irish independent with 17, RTE.ie with 16 and the Irish Examiner with 12 and the Irish Times with seven. All bar the Irish times carried photography or video content from the games as well.
Staying with football, Katie McCabe’s performance in helping Arsenal to the top of the English Women’s Super League gained 15 paragraphs on the $2, 14 on RTe.ie and five each in the Times and the Independent.
The opening weekend of the Women’s Super League in Basketball was also well covered, albeit tending to be underneath a lead on the Men’s games. The 42 were the only media outlet not to cover this and the Examiner performed best with a good feature on Angela Budden.
Women’s Hockey was also covered in four with the Independent leading the way with 16 paragraphs ahead of RTÉ and the Irish Examiner with eight and the Irish Times with seven.
RTÉ and the 42 were the only ones to feature the LPGA Golf in America while the same two online sources were joined by the Independent in covering the Club Championships in Ladies Football.
The 42 devoted 16 paragraphs to the Energia AIL league, with the Independent (15) and the Times (13) also featuring the rugby.
The Irish Cricket team’s series in Zimbabwe was covered in 12 paragraphs on RTÉ and three in the Irish Times.
The 42 was the only outlet to cover the scandals engulfing soccer in the US and Australia.
As we said at the outset there is no science to this analysis, just whatever benefit that might accrue from those with the power to determine editorial content being aware that this one element is being watched.
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