The Gender Gap in Professional Sports


As we all have had a challenging year from the pandemic in one way or another, it’s good to know that we can depend on professional sports for entertainment. It’s easy to get emotionally involved as a fan of your favorite sports pastime. If you are like many fans, there has been an increased gravitational attraction toward professional women’s sports. Take the game of soccer, for instance. Last year alone, viewership in the National Women’s Soccer League grew by nearly 300%.

Unfortunately, the pay gap is more of an imbalance than you might otherwise think.  In the Forbes 50 listing of the highest-paid professional athletes, only one woman was featured there out of an otherwise total men’s club: professional tennis star Naomi Osaka.  As you may know, professional athletes make a significant portion of their respective earnings from sponsorship dollars.  Women’s sports only get a shocking 0.4% of all sponsorships. Media coverage holds the key.  Last year, women made up 40% of sportspeople but received only 4% of sports media coverage.

There is still hope for the future of more equitable pay in the sports industry for women’s sports.  Check out where the trends are going in the business of women’s sports in the visual deep dive below.

The Business of Women