Public interest in women’s sport is on the rise, with increased media coverage reflecting this. But is this upward trend mirrored in the betting world?
SBC spoke to Valentina Francione (below, left), Online Business Manager at Kiron Interactive, and Nora Galstyan (below, right), Head of Compliance at Technamin, to see whether betting volumes in women’s sport are increasing in line with their popularity.
As the popularity of women’s sports increases, are you seeing a similar increase in betting volumes on those sports?
VF: There has naturally been an increase in the volume of betting on women’s sports within the industry as popularity continues to grow. There are more women involved in sports in general, alongside more markets becoming regulated and so access has never been greater.
As a result of this greater exposure and opportunity, there has in turn been a more welcoming attitude towards sports betting, with online betting making it easier for players to engage.
The data backs this up, you just have to look at how many women are signing up for sportsbook apps, and the rate of growth is great to see. Naturally, this will bring increased attention to women’s sports, which is something we are extremely excited about.
NG: The sports industry is attractive to its audience based on different age groups, gender and personal interests. Although certain physical activities and competitions have been historically undertaken by men, women have made further progress in their participation in different sports. Therefore, nowadays we can even observe women participating in the most traditionally “masculine” sports such as weightlifting, boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, and others.
From the sportsbook perspective, Technamin strives to present a great number of sports and competitions. Including women’s sports will only make the sportsbook more attractive to bettors and offer a wide variety of betting options. Our well-developed reporting system enables us to sort the statistics of bets on sports played by women. Therefore, we can assume that gender doesn’t play a significant role in the number of bets. The more sports, competitions, matches and markets we offer, the better it becomes in terms of customer choice. The betting volume increases based on the number of matches, not gender per se.
Is this trend limited to one or two sports, or seen across the board?
VF: I believe the spotlight is on women’s sports in general. Obviously, the more popular sports such as football, cricket and tennis will attract more attention, but this will only lead to more interest in women’s sports across the board as engagement continues to improve over time.
It often comes down to which sports get given the most airtime with the three already mentioned falling into that category. More and more media deals are being signed for women’s sports, and as this gains momentum, the volume of betting will follow.
With more women enjoying sport they will naturally begin to explore different options, so some now may just be on the start of a journey where the following is going to dramatically pick up over the next few years.
NG: Women have made an important contribution to different sports, despite the prehistoric perception of those sports. This concerns both sports that were traditionally played by men, as well as ones that are more associated with women. For example, weightlifting is one of the sports requiring strength of the overall body, especially the hands. Women of different weight groups have successfully accomplished these challenges and became world champions. Meanwhile, sports like netball which were initially played by women, underwent some changes in the uniform and gained a wider popularity in different countries of the world.
What moves could the industry make to better cater to this market?
VF: It is quite simple really; women’s sports need to be treated in the same manner as men’s. This means there must be more equality at all levels, encouraging women to enjoy and participate in sports is something which sadly hasn’t happened in the past. There also needs to be more airtime for women’s sports, so that it will hopefully reach a point soon where you turn on your TV and you’re presented with an even number of both women’s and men’s sports available to watch.
If we can work towards this point, it will benefit the industry as a whole. With more frequently available live matches, we will be able to offer the same betting opportunities on women’s sports as there is in men’s, something which would be fantastic to see.
NG: Ambassadorship is one thing that the industry needs to focus on. We see many adverts featuring male athletes, and we need to see more of these with successful female athletes as well. It is imperative that women athletes assume ambassadorship of different sports and encourage other women to pursue the same path to success. This way, the market will become more popular.
In order to increase the number of bets on women’s sports from a provider’s point of view, it would also be reasonable to provide a wider range of live streaming. For example, bettors are more engaged when they are watching the live streaming of women’s beach volleyball, regardless of their gender. They can both watch the event and follow their bets. This is certainly something that both providers and operators should consider, especially as women’s sports are becoming increasingly popular over time.