Pay and investment gaps in women's sports exposed in new study
The GIST: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before — a new study published yesterday exposes the pay and investment gaps in women’s sports and shines a light on the need for more sponsors in the industry. We had a feeling…
The study: Sports and entertainment agency Wasserman and its women’s sports–focused division, The Collective, teamed up with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and uncovered a “massive discrepancy between how brands and sponsors currently value partnership with women versus men athletes.” RBC also used the study to illuminate potential women’s sports investment opportunities to stakeholders across the financial world.
- Their study surveyed 1.8K North American sports fans, while also drawing on publicly reported salary data from 2022 and proprietary financial data.
The gap: According to the report, male athletes earn playing salaries that are, on average, 21x higher than women’s. Furthermore, male athletes’ salaries contribute to 63% of their total income on average, with the other 37% coming from off-the-field endorsements.
- Some women athletes have used such off-the-field sponsorship deals and endorsements to creatively close the salary gap — they depend on such deals 2x more than men, with a whopping 82% of women athletes’ annual income earned through brand deals. That’s girlbossing.
The key takeaways: Despite women athletes depending heavily on off-the-field deals, 90% of sports partnership dollars are still directed toward men, leaving a huge women’s sports void just waiting to be filled. Women athletes cultivate loyal fanbases, are better marketers than men, and this study found women’s sports fans are 89% more likely to be inspired by an athlete to participate in social action.
- The Collective and RBC don’t want to just stop here — they are hoping to further the research and prove to brands that women’s sports are worth the investment. Tell us something we don’t know.