Time to even out the playing field

By N.Carroll August 24, 2017
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As the United Kingdom’s sportswomen continue to impress on the world stage, the nation’s sports audiences have provided an overwhelming show of support for industry equality.

In an August SMI (Sports Marketing Intelligence) poll, 84% of sports fans indicated they expected to see identical rules and regulations between men’s and women’s sport, irrespective of entry price or ability.

The support is largely in line with a majority of sports that have standardised the rules across both sexes. However some tournaments, such as the four tennis Grand Slams, still limit women’s matches to three sets, while their male counterparts can play up to five.

Somewhat surprisingly, fans with an active interest in tennis produced an identical proportion of respondents (84%) who called for the playing field to be evened up, seemingly opposing the current Grand Slam format.

A further breakdown of results from the sports-dedicated market researchers showed male backing, at 83%, was only slightly less than the 88% of females in favour. Additionally, there was no major variance in support across each age category, with 18-24 year olds standing as the lowest proportion at 79%.

10% of the sports fans polled believed that female sports should be modified to adjust for any variances in ability, while only 5% unequivocally stated they would not attend a women’s sports event.

The findings provide positive signs for the future, as external investment, attendances and wages continue to rise both in the United Kingdom and on an international level. 

Poll undertaken amongst 650 active UK sports fans.


SMI are specialist market researchers for the sports industry. For more information about our polls, surveys, online communities and sponsorship solutions, visit the SMI services page or contact our dedicated team.