A recent article in the New York Times reports that women aren’t as interested in team sports as men are. Sounds like what we’ve been saying for years. The article also covers the controversy over Title IX and college sports. Here are some excerpts.
“Sure, rabid female fans are in the stands at women’s professional basketball and soccer games. But there are not very many of them, which is why the W.N.B.A.. has been closing franchises and why female soccer players have been taking pay cuts.”
“The leagues are struggling because no mass sisterhood is watching the games on television. Women’s professional basketball games draw only a third as many viewers as men’s games, and half of those W.N.B.A. viewers are men. Men make up more than half of the tiny television audiences for women’s soccer.”
“Promoters of women’s sports hoped that Title IX would help turn girls into fans, but at ESPN, the balance of the audience has remained fairly constant for more than a decade: three men for every woman. Experts say women may enjoy sports when it is a social event – the family gathered around the set, a group outing to a game – but they are much less likely than men to watch a game alone. ‘For men, sports is more of a social currency,’ said Artie Bulgrin, the chief of research at ESPN. ‘They need to know what happened in the game last night so they can talk about it with their buddies. Women don’t have the same need.'”
(Excerpted from Why Don’t Women Watch Women’s Sports? by John Tierney, New York Times – June 15, 2003)