The FA Women’s Super League, England Rugby, England Netball, England and Wales Cricket Board and Volleyball England are among the first participants in the new Women’s Sport Investment Accelerator Programme, launched by the UK’s Department for Business and Trade.
The programme is designed to boost investment and increase broadcast audiences for women’s sport through mentoring, networking events and sessions on market insights, connecting women’s sports rightsholders with industry experts and sports investors.
“It’s fantastic to see this scheme get off the mark as we aim to make the UK the world’s number one destination for women’s sport investment,” said Industry Minister Nusrat Ghani.
“We’ve had so many brilliant women’s sport success stories this year. I’m excited to see the overwhelming appetite from leagues, teams and competitions from right across the breadth of women’s sports, and am proud to back this fast-growing sector as it pushes boundaries and grows to the next level.”
The Women’s Sport Investment Accelerator Programme is being run in association with Deloitte’s Sports Business Group and is supported by the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport.
“The Women’s Sport Investment Accelerator Programme is invaluable for growing and improving sport for women and girls in the UK,” commented Lisa O’Keefe, Secretary General of the IWG Women and Sport.
“The first session brought together sports rightsholders from a range of sports from across the UK, which was brilliant to see, as well as industry experts and potential investors. I heard some excellent discussions taking place about the current commercial landscape, the factors driving the growth in investment, and what the learnings have been from the past, and I’m now looking forward to seeing what opportunities will emerge.
“From the IWG’s perspective, our mission is to make global changes to gender equality in sport, and our hope is this can be a blueprint which can be replicated across other countries to help grow elite women’s sport worldwide.”
The programme will run for a year, and participants represent 20 top-tier women’s sports leagues, teams and competitions across seven different sports: football, rugby, netball, cricket, golf, sailing and volleyball.
Holly Murdoch, The FA’s Head of Operations for the Women’s Professional Game, said:
“We are proud to be involved in the new Women’s Sport Investment Accelerator initiative. This group will help to provide a platform that will benefit women’s sport across the country, through shared intelligence and support.”
“We have seen first-hand the incredible growth that women’s football is going through in England, with the unprecedented success of the Lionesses and the record-breaking seasons from across the Barclays Women’s Super League and the Barclays Women’s Championship.”
“Women’s sport has proven that it has the power to inspire people and positively impact lives – and we believe that creating this group of industry experts can be a catalyst to drive positive change for women’s sport across the country.”