In partnership with CBC Sports, The 4% Rising is your guide to finding and watching women's sports online and on TV. Subscribe now to receive this guide each week.
📺 Increase in Viewership this Year
Watching women's sports has grown increasingly popular. I couldn't help but track down some facts for you lovely people. What an exciting time to be a women's sports fan!
Women’s Olympic sports take over
At this year's Tokyo Olympics, American and Canadian broadcasters reported new all-time records in the coverage and viewership of women’s events. Women’s sports made up nearly 58 per cent of America's NBC primetime broadcast, according to a report by FiveRingTV. Closer to home, Canada's CBC reported that four of the five most viewed Olympic moments were women's events. YES! You read that right! Those events were the women’s gold medal soccer game, the 4x100-metre medley relay, the 100-metre freestyle swimming event, and (OF COURSE!) Penny Oleksiak’s 200-metre freestyle final. Wow - I literally get excited just writing about this stuff!
WNBA viewership up 51%
Alright. The saying goes, ball is life. And, I mean... IT REALLY IS! Get this! 👉 The WNBA captured 417,000 total viewers for Game 4 of the finals between the Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury, according to ESPN. Not to mention the four-game series averaged 548,000 viewers in the league's 25th anniversary. This season, the W's combined viewership averaged 306,000 viewers across networks and a matchup between the Sky and Storm on Aug. 15 was the highest-rated (it averaged 755,000 viewers on ABC).
WSL setting UK television records
Our friends across the pond are also feeling the RISE. The Women’s Super League always has my attention! Talk about GREAT footy!
A match between Everton and Manchester City pulled in 800,000 viewers on BBC One. Sooo... Guess what?! This was the most watched women’s club soccer match on UK television, as reported by the Telegraph. The FA Cup between Chelsea and Arsenal was also a great milestone. The match was played in front of 40,942 people - a record-breaking turnout - and reached an audience of 1.3 million viewers on BBC TV. The record audience for a club game is still 2.2 million (this was the 2019 FA Cup final). OH! And BTW, 160,000 live-stream requests came through for the match on BBC iPlayer. Give the people what they want… And they want WOMEN’S SPORTS.
A footy finale for the ages
The NWSL championship match saw viewership increase 216 per cent from the 2019 title game. The match averaged 525,000 viewers on CBS. AND in case you didn't know... This was the league's MOST-WATCHED championship match. The final half hour of the match saw 571,000 viewers tune in. That number made this the MOST-STREAMED NWSL game on Paramount+ this season. I just can’t wait to see what 2022 will look like!
Top Canadian Moments from 2021 🇨🇦
2021 has been an amazing year for Canadian female athletes. And it’s no secret women were the heart of and soul of Canadian sports over the past 12 months.
Sooooo let’s have some fun and take a look at some of this year's top performances…
OBVIOUSLY I have to talk about #CANWNT soccer winning 🥇 gold 🥇 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Their journey absolutely captivated the nation with 4.4 million Canadians tuning in to CBC to watch captain Christine Sinclair (and her superstar squad) play Sweden for gold.
The game went to penalties and it was SUCH a nail biter. Until… 21-year-old Julia Grosso nailed home the winning shot to set off a passionate and tearful celebration. It was a huge moment for Canada and an inspiring time for young women and girls in sport.
For this next one, I absolutely have to talk about Maggie Mac Neil’s golden moment in the pool at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In her Olympic debut, the 21-year-old dominated in the 100m butterfly, winning Canada’s first gold of the Games. And her reaction to that win is what makes this moment so special. After touching the wall, she squinted at the scoreboard to find out where she placed in the race.
The moment she realized she WON was priceless. Viewers could really see her moving through so many different emotions in that few seconds.
Mac Neil left Tokyo with three medals and was named the best female athlete of the Tokyo Games by the Association of National Olympic Committees.
And finalllyyyyy the 19-year-old that transfixed Canadians everywhere… The one and only Leylah Fernandez.
On her remarkable US Open run, Fernandez defeated top-five seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina and four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka before a tough loss against Emma Raducanu of Britain.
Her gritty play and underdog status made her a fan favourite in New York, but of course, so did her perfectly sweet and well spoken post game interviews.
Fernandez took the hearts of every Canadian watching the US Open and solidified her spot as a true contender in the tennis world. I can’t wait to see what 2022 brings her. 🌟
Special Edition TV Guide
We’re doing things a little differently this week… Women’s sports are on a bit of a break during the holiday season BUT here’s what’s going on throughout next week! Tune in!
Only 4% of national airtime is devoted to women’s sports. At The 4% our objective is to promote what, when, and where to watch women’s sports to help raise awareness and grow the audience for women’s sports on TV.