Women’s sport is in a pretty good place right now. Research from the Women’s Sport Trust estimates that more than 50m people will have watched some form of women’s sport in 2021, thanks in most part to The Hundred and WSL. That’s only set to grow in 2022. But what are the main events to look out for that will help spur this growth?
- Cricket: Women’s Ashes, 20th January – 8th February & Women’s Cricket World Cup, 4th March – 3rd April
With the Ashes having an earlier start date to allow the players to quarantine ahead of the World Cup, England fans will be hoping that the women’s team fare better than the men’s. Will we snatch victory from Australia who have held the Ashes since 2015? After a short flight across the Tasman Sea and a quarantine period, will England keep the world title? There is a chance the time zone will hinder viewing figures but the ECB and ICC will be hoping that the success of The Hundred will lead to a whole new audience staying awake to watch the matches. Fans will tune in to see if England and Trent Rockets player Nat Sciver will retain her batting prowess seen in The Hundred or will Amanda Jane-Wellington take her experiences from playing for Southern Brave in The Hundred back to her home team in Australia?
Thanks to their recent performances, the Red Roses will be the favourites to win both the Six Nations and the World Cup, although the home side New Zealand won’t take their recent losses lying down. While the time zone might be an issue for the World Cup, it will be a chance for England to show their support, which is even more important this year with the country’s bid to host the World Cup in 2025.
- Football: Women’s Euros, 6th – 31st July
I’d put money on this being the biggest women’s sporting tournament to date with more viewers than any other female sports tournament and with all venues at capacity. I can’t wait to see how the sponsors will activate it and I’m hopeful all media will truly get behind it. And I also predict England will win….
- Cycling: Tour de France Femmes, 24th July
Finally, the female riders get their own race. Ok so the winner only gets 50,000 euros, compared to the 500,000 euros for the winner of the men’s race and the women’s race is only 8 stages compared to the 21 stages of the men’s race but I guess it’s a start, especially as the last women’s Tour de France was 33 years ago.
It will be interesting to see how title sponsor Zwift marks this milestone in women’s cycling and we look forward to working with our client Skoda to maximise this opportunity, especially given their heritage with female cyclists.
- Commonwealth Games, 28th July – 8th August
Coming just a year after the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, we’re in for another summer of sport. The organisers have stated that Birmingham 2022 will have the largest ever female and para-sport programme in history with three major finals for women’s sport taking place on super Sunday on 7th August. All eyes will be on the hockey, 20-over cricket and netball on that day and hopes are high for England’s chances.
- Rugby League: Rugby League World Cup, 1st – 19th November
With the men, women and wheelchair games all happening at the same time, it will be interesting to see if it can replicate the success of The Hundred who trialled a similar format. England will have home advantage and the women will want to beat their old rivals Australia, who beat them in 2017 to take the title.
I’m sure after this bumper year of sport, there will be a large group of female athletes who previously most of us will have never heard of before. I can’t wait to see who 2022’s Rachael Blackmore and Emma Raducanu will be.