Gender Gap in Sports
Gender Gap in Sports

A business once dominated by men is now attracting more women to sportsbook apps and physical booths. Many factors can explain the increasing number of women engaging in sports betting.

This article will discuss media coverage of women's sports and the inclusion of those events in sportsbooks. More importantly, how it translates into more female engagement in sports betting.

Virtuous Circle

You wouldn't miss a match on which you've placed a bet, would you? No one would forget any football bets they have placed. Yet, if this match has poor media coverage, no one watches it; therefore, no one bets on it. Quite obviously, comprehensive media coverage is essential for increasing viewership. It increases the volume of bets, which will keep more people watching the game and vice-versa.

The final match of FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 was watched by over a billion spectators worldwide. Other sports like tennis, volleyball, and basketball also attract a lot of viewership. In the same year, finals for the Wimbledon tennis championship also received a lot of media attention.

In fact, the BBC branded that summer as the "summer of women in sports." Data suggests that during this period, media coverage of sports events reached near parity.

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 also brought a record number of female competitors. Several websites and media outlets covered the events, also providing schedules and tables. Football, in particular, has attracted a lot of media attention.

Room for Improvement

Despite advancements in closing the gender gap in media coverage, other aspects remained the same. In 2019, after several top female competitions, women athletes got a mere 5.4% airtime on ESPN. It represents timid progress, compared with 5% of airtime in 1989.

Also, women's competition only gets media attention when it's an elite, international league, like the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019. Even so, production values and coverage aren't the same.

For Chery Cooky, professor at Purdue University, women athletes are portrayed in the media is problematic. First, the faulty coverage leaves few role models to inspire future generations. Worse still is the over-sexualization of female athletes.

Top 3 Most Popular Women's Sports

Pretty much every sport today is played by both genders. Still, some sports get more attention than others. Here are the most popular ones, according to viewership and engagement.

#1 – Football

Gender Gap in Sports
Football - Top 3 Most Popular Women's Sports. Source: Pixabay

Football remains the popular sport worldwide, hands down. Female international leagues have more media attention than other sports. Also, female football teams are receiving more investments and undergoing increasing professionalization.

#2 – Tennis

Gender Gap in Sports
Tennis - Top 3 Most Popular Women's Sports

Tennis also has trendy and reputable women's leagues. The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) organizes professional competitions worldwide. Some of the most famous women athletes are tennis. Such is the case of Billie Jean King and Serena Williams, who are regarded as two of the best players ever.

#3 – Basketball

The Women's National Basketball Association is turning 25 this year, and it's the oldest women's pro league for this sport. WNBA's efforts have been attracting more athletes and viewers to the sport. It has increased its professionalization level over the years and attracted more investments.

Behavioural Gap

There's a clear statistical difference in how men and women gamble. Research from 2019 in the United States points that men tend to bet higher and more aggressively. About 29% of male gamblers wagered over $500 monthly, while only 12.2% of female gamblers surpassed that mark. Over 65% of regular female gamblers risk less than $100 per month.

Despite risking less, women have been demonstrating better average results in sports betting. A study from 2020 shows that women in New Jersey placed more successful bets than men did in the same period. According to this study, women bettors had more than 19% return on their bets, while men got only 5%.

The same study shows that women tend to bet more conservatively due to an aversion to high risks. It results in minor losses and surer bets, and ultimately, better returns. The same pattern occurs in online casinos, where women also outperform men. Female gamblers ageing between 18 and 24 got a 30% return on their online casino adventures. Meanwhile, men of the same age have lost more than 67%.

Millennials Lead the Way

Millennials and Gen Z women are the more active gambling groups. Millennials make 28%, and Gen Z makes 27% of all-female gamblers. Statistically, older women prefer to bet only in major events, like the Super Bowl and others.


Although smaller, the gender gap still plagues the sports world. Despite increasing viewership, women's sports still have fewer media spaces and budgets. Including more events in sportsbooks is an effective way to draw more viewership. Consequently, it'll bring more advertising revenue.

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