Yesterday morning I woke up to a brilliant and passionate interview on the BBC website by Sophie Bradley, England’s football defender discussing the usual hot potato of funding for women’s sports as football rose only from £16,000 to £18,000 and news came of the AIS cutting the funding for the women’s cycling programme.
Without doubt we know that increased funding significantly helps performance. This can clearly be seen in cricket over the past 5 years. The success of the women’s team has run in parallel with the increase levels of funding and support by the ECB.
However what struck me more yesterday is not the discussion of funding, but how the news came to me. I woke up and as usual reached over to my iPad, checked Twitter where I saw the link, read the story and retweeted. Then I went on to check my Facebook, RSS Feeds, and see what time the West Indies women were playing South Africa on Ustream.
It dawned on me how much our habits have changed over the last few years. Two years ago the first thing I would have done is think about brushing my teeth! (Now second of course 🙂 ), and my main source of news would have been the TV. There is a significant shift in how we consume information, and these ways are now much more diverse.
I must say as cricket fan I am particularly pleased with the increased media coverage for women’s cricket over the last 5 years, but we know that across the board women’s sport doesn’t receive enough traditional media coverage. According to a recent study by USC, only 1.6% is given to women’s sport by ESPN, and there are a number of complicated reasons as to why this is.
I agree it is very important for organisations such as WSFF and National Governing Bodies to give significant energy to drive increased traditional media coverage for women’s sports. But I can’t help but thinking equal attention should be given to social media with the shifts in patterns and growth of the internet.
Nothing stops a women’s game being aired on Ustream. If a random guy can stream footage of his fish tank to the world from the Northpole from his iPhone, what stops anyone (subject to any broadcasting rights) broadcasting women’s sport live from a flipcam? Nothing stops someone setting up a blog, or a podcast series on iTunes discussing the in’s and out of a local women’s sports league…and this can all be done for free. There is information out there, but I would love to see more.
I checked on iTunes with a search for women’s sports podcasts and yes there are one or two, but I would like to see a hundred! The internet is only 14 years old and the rate of content being added is significant. I personally would love to see more female athletes engaging social media such as Angela Reggiero uses twitter and YouTube. (Google her!)
Video blogs are amazing to personalize athletes. I would love to see more real days in the life of female athletes training, working on tactics and giving out tips etc. The reason I consume hours of the Kardashians on E! Entertainment every year is because I like everyone else secretly love starring into many peoples daily lives and feeling like you know them. Hence the growth of reality TV!
I really believe social media is complimentary to traditional media and it’s no longer one or the other. There is a definite opportunity to leverage social media, not only to engage fans and build communities, but also to sway traditional media to give more airtime.
Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment or share!