Women’s sport has enjoyed a longoverdue boost during the last ten years, with the rise of female international soccer perhaps offering the best example of what can be achieved. The 2019 Women’s World Cup was the biggest event of its kind.
Women’s cricket has also taken major leaps forward in recent years, including the launch of the Women’s T20 Challenge and the broader growth of the international game for female players.
But what other steps can the sport take to replicate the meteoric rise of women’s soccer? We examined some of the tactics that cricket could utilise in order to further develop the game.
A consistent calendar
One of the major factors behind the growth of the women’s World Cup has been the establishment of a consistent calendar of events. The men’s tournament has been staged every four years, with the odd exception, since 1930.
This pattern helped the concept build momentum and allowed international teams to incorporate the competition into their planning. The women’s event has adopted this pattern in more recent years, and the four year cycle has worked perfectly for broadcast and commercial partners, as it allowed them to make plans well in advance.
Women’s cricket should also strive to achieve this level of consistency and longterm planning at an international level. Of course, a degree of pragmatism will always be required, but broadcast partners, players, and potential sponsors should be able to count on what’s around the corner.
Meanwhile, from a supporter perspective, websites like RoadTrips.com list the biggest sporting events each year and encourage fans to make trips to see them. This is another great reason to ensure you have a schedule in place.
Integration in the marketplace
International sport is so big that several external industries build close associations with it. Aside from its growing relationship with commercial partners, women’s football has succeeded in embedding itself within the broader sporting marketplace.
One example here is the gambling sector. For over two decades, eager soccer fans have been able to log on and grab a slice of the action by placing a bet, and this has recently extended into the women’s game. These kinds of relationships help to build a deeper connection between the sport and its fans, as a bettor is naturally invested in the outcome of a match.
Women’s cricket should seek to work more closely with betting brands to ensure relevant match markets are promoted. With betting on the rise in India, there’s perhaps never been a better time to strike.
Websites like FunBet, Unibet, and specialised cricket betting website 10Cric, as found in the guide published by BettingGuru.in, should be targeted as platforms for increasing viewership. This has the potential to significantly impact awareness of women’s cricket at an international level.
Perhaps most importantly, organisers should work hard to ensure that content is easily accessible to global audiences. Although lucrative deals with premium TV channels can deliver a shortterm financial boost, providing content on freetoair platforms can underpin longerterm growth.
Many sports, including women’s soccer, have utilised platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to broadcast matches for free. Organisers have also built social media channels that showcase highlights, player interviews, and news reports.
Earlier this year, SportsProMedia.com reported that YouTube is eager to show more live sport and, ultimately, getting your product in front of people is crucial to success. It doesn’t matter how good the matches are, or how quickly standards are rising if only a small number of people are able to tune in to see the action.
The road ahead for women’s cricket is filled with opportunities and obstacles, and it’s certain that there will be no quick fixes. But, with the right longterm strategies in place, the sport can grow – and even replicate the rise of women’s soccer.
Image Credit: ICC
This article was published first on Female Cricket. The views expressed are the author’s own.