Sport Spectator Attitudes As Disappointing As Gender Pay Gap

With a summer of major sporting events ahead, including The World Cup and the Tour de France, millions are expected to tune in and watch. But a nationwide survey of 2,000 people by Insure4Sport highlights that the majority will be cheering on their favourite male athletes only. Such events firmly place the spotlight on the sporting gender pay gap and overall attitudes towards women in sport.

  • Professional female footballers earn just 2% of the prize money of that of their male counterparts.
  • Of the survey respondents that watched football, 60% of them did not watch women’s football.
  • Almost 40% of respondents prefer to watch men play sport compared to just 7% that prefer to watch women.
  • 1 in 5 men believe women are inferior at sport in some way as revealed in the latest survey by Insure4Sport

Insure4Sport’s latest research has uncovered attitudes towards women in sport, which mirror that of the gender pay gap issue.

Despite the industry stating the gender pay gap is closing, the latest Forbes world’s highest-paid athletes list suggests the gender pay gap is still rife within the industry. The 2018 round up does not feature a single female athlete, the first time this has happened since the list was extended in 2010 by an extra 50 athletes.

Football has the largest pay gap issue with the average prize money for men being £22,075,000 compared to just £561,230 for women, meaning a male footballer earns on average 98% more than their female counterpart.

Of those surveyed, 40% of men believe male footballers deserve to be paid more than female footballers, despite the women’s team often outperforming the men’s in major tournaments – most recently in Euro 2017, where they reached the semi-finals of the competition.


Whilst almost 3/4 of respondents recognised there to be inequality in sports, the results of the survey are startling.

  • 40% of respondents do not believe women’s sports should get equal TV coverage to men’s sports.
  • Over a third do not agree the opinions of female sports commentators and pundits are as valid as those of their male counterparts.
  • Out of the 22 sports, volleyball and hockey were the only two where respondents were more likely to watch the women’s game.
  • 38% would watch the men’s Football World Cup every time, compared to just 12% who would watch the women’s equivalent.

The UK is less inclined to watch female sporting events and when asked why, the responses were truly astonishing.

I am less likely to watch women play sport because…

  • It’s bad enough having women commentators never mind players.
  • It’s poor quality, they’re not as skilled, it’s like watching kids play.
  • I find them slow, weak and boring.
  • I only watch sexy women.

Shockingly, many of the above statements were made by women.

Interestingly when asked why they watch less women’s sports, respondents recognised that the lack of TV and media coverage plays a major role, with 1 in 4 stating this as their reason.

Lizzie Deignan, Olympic medallist and ambassador for sister brand Cycleplan said of the findings: “While this survey shows that attitudes towards women’s sport are changing, particularly amongst the younger generations, there is obviously still a long way to go to achieve parity in sport. Hopefully greater coverage of female participation, combined with more national campaigns such as This Girl Can, will continue to change attitudes towards women in sport for the better. The more that other women see female role models the more I hope women all of all ages will be encouraged to take part in sport themselves and hopefully more people of both sexes will watch women’s sport at an elite level.”

For more findings in the survey please visit:


This article was published in April 2018 and featured in UK Tennis Magazine in Edition #34. To read it, please visit the UK Tennis Magazine Rack by clicking Here


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