“THE NEW ECONOMY OF SPORTS” STUDY BY THE COLLECTIVE® DEFINES THE UNPARALLELeD VALUE OF PRO WOMEN ATHLETESAugust 1, 2023
– New research – developed in partnership with Royal Bank of Canada – calls for corporate innovation to remedy equity disparities across sports, showing how investment in women athletes can be one of the best dollars spent
– Research proves systemic gaps related to revenue, infrastructure and media coverage, as professional men athletes earn up to 24x more in sponsorship and endorsement – though women athletes drive 2x more fan engagement
The Collective®, Wasserman’s women-focused practice, today launched a study that defines and explores opportunities around gaps in equitable investment across sports. Among the key insights, the research reveals that because of systemic factors contributing to persistent inequities, men earn 21x more playing salary on average than women athletes; limited on-field earning means that women depend on sponsorship and endorsements 2x more than men do; and with 82% of their annual income derived from partnerships, women professional athletes depend greatly on commercial revenue for success and sustainability. Created in partnership with leading global financial institution Royal Bank of Canada, the research is designed to illustrate how the current compensation model for athletes overall is not reflective of the value generated by women athletes – substantiated through outsized fan engagement.
The full research study can be downloaded here and includes proprietary data and custom research to inspire brands, sponsors, investors and the larger business community.
“As advocates, role models and brand stewards, women athletes drive unparalleled value through engaged relationships with their fans. The true impact of women professional athletes will be recognized – and the marketplace rightsized – when brands and commercial investors embrace a new model that monetarily values the qualities that set women athletes apart,” said Thayer Lavielle, EVP, The Collective® at Wasserman. “This groundbreaking partnership with RBC calls additional partners in to create change, and will provide focus for smart investors and intentional brands who understand the need to support progress reflective of human truths.”
The data included a custom survey of 1,800 North American sports fans plus proprietary financial data, as well as publicly reported salaries across the 2022 playing year. The results uncover the massive discrepancy between how brands and sponsors currently value partnership with women versus men athletes.
In a market where 90% of partnership dollars are directed to men athletes (source: SponsorUnited, Women in Sports 2022) the research highlights the investment gaps the industry needs to narrow and close. The primary focus areas of the methodology and analysis revolve around: level-setting the pay gap; defining the market impact of athletes; and redesigning the architecture of athlete partnerships. Fan perception and athlete influence comprised the balance of the findings, including:
– Fans perceive women athletes as positive role models who are trustworthy, exemplify excellence and are inspirational.
– As such, 89% of sports fans are more inspired to take social action when partners and/or brands are associated with women athletes.
– Women athletes are unlocking the next generation of powerful fans, as their fan base is younger, more educated, more affluent and outpacing on content engagement rates.
About The Collective®
The Collective® exists to create change in support of equity and fairness for women. We aim to raise the visibility and drive inclusion of women in sports, entertainment and culture by providing unique insights, strategies and ideas. Learn more on Twitter @WassCollective and Instagram @wassermancollective.
Wasserman is a global leader in sports, music, entertainment and culture. Founded in 2002, Wasserman represents many of the world’s most iconic sports and entertainment figures, musical artists, brands and properties, empowering them to shape culture and captivate audiences worldwide.
Wasserman operates globally across six continents, 23 countries and more than 45 cities, including Los Angeles, New York, London, Raleigh, Toronto, Nashville, Chicago, Boston, Mechelen, Amsterdam, The Hague, Dusseldorf, Madrid, Mexico City, Shanghai and Sydney.