GGW Voices: The dynamic interplay between women’s sports and sports betting – A transformative era

May 14, 2024 8:52 PM
  • Stephanie Barrett
May 14, 2024 8:52 PM
  • Stephanie Barrett

GGW Voices is an ongoing collaboration between CDC Gaming Reports and Global Gaming Women featuring commentary and insight from women in the gaming industry.

In the realm of sports, women’s sports have often been marginalized – but a profound shift is unfolding, driven by the confluence of sports betting, the escalating popularity of women’s sports, and broader societal movements toward gender equality. This transformation not only signifies the rising acclaim and achievements of women’s sports, but also denotes a shift in attitudes toward female athletes and their profound impact on the sports betting sphere.

Story continues below

The influence of women’s sports on sports betting is notably reflected in the broadening of betting markets and opportunities. As women’s sports gain increased visibility, sportsbooks are diversifying their offerings to encompass a broader array of betting options for women’s sports events. From traditional sports like basketball and soccer to emerging sports like women’s MMA and esports, this expansion has not only captivated new bettors but has also provided existing bettors with a plethora of new wagering avenues.

Additionally, the impact of sports betting can inject vitality into women’s sports through heightened investment and funding. Recognizing the untapped potential of women’s sports, sportsbooks and betting companies are slowly beginning to intensify their sponsorships, partnerships, and marketing campaigns targeting female athletes and fans. This influx of funding is not only enhancing the infrastructure and facilities for women’s sports but is also providing greater support for female athletes in terms of salaries, endorsements, and overall development.

The success and growing popularity of women’s sports are fueling increased media coverage and exposure, generating heightened interest and engagement from fans and bettors alike. Stakeholders – including sports organizations, sponsors, and media outlets – are ramping up their support for women’s sports, driving its growth and raising its profile. In fact, women’s sports are projected to generate over $1 billion in revenue in 2024, according to Deloitte.

Major tournaments such as the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the WNBA Finals are now highly anticipated events, attracting large audiences and driving up betting activity. In 2023, the Nebraska Women’s Volleyball event drew a record-breaking 92,000 fans, while the FIFA Women’s World Cup attracted almost two million fans, the most in tournament history. The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament also saw record viewership, with the championship game peaking at 24 million viewers, the most watched basketball game (men’s or women’s) since 2019.

This heightened interest in women’s sports is not only benefiting the sports betting industry but also empowering female athletes to achieve new heights of success.

Despite these advancements, women’s sports still face challenges in the sports betting industry. Parity in betting opportunities and coverage compared to men’s sports remains an issue, with women’s sports often receiving less media attention and funding, leading to fewer betting markets and lower betting limits. 

To engage more women in sports betting, impactful campaigns and initiatives are crucial. These campaigns should focus on highlighting the excitement and strategic nature of betting on women’s sports, showcasing the potential for women to make informed wagers and enjoy the thrill of the game. By featuring successful female bettors, providing educational resources, and offering support for women interested in sports betting, these campaigns can help create a more inclusive and diverse sports betting community.

Additionally, more research and data analysis in women’s sports are needed to help bettors make informed decisions. Emerging companies such as Odditt, led by Matt Bresler and Elaine Milardo, are working on providing tools and resources for sports bettors devoted exclusively to women’s sports. These tools will be essential to growing women’s sports betting markets.

The dynamic relationship between women’s sports and sports betting continues to evolve, with each exerting influence on the other. As women’s sports continue to ascend in popularity and visibility, it is imperative for stakeholders in both industries to collaborate to ensure sustainable growth.

Sportsbooks and betting companies must recognize the value and potential of women’s sports and invest in their growth and development. By doing so, they can not only capitalize on the growing popularity of women’s sports but also create a more inclusive and diverse sports betting landscape for future generations, providing fans, bettors, and athletes with exciting and rewarding experiences.

Stephanie is currently serving as the Head of Decision Support and Global Commissions at Aristocrat Technologies. She is also the Founder and CEO of Her Competitive Advantage (HCA): the first-ever and only recruiting platform connecting current and former collegiate female athletes with companies and recruiters that value their unique skillset.