A new Seton Hall poll has some promising findings about women’s sports.
The report, released one day after Billie Jean King visited campus, demonstrates a desire for more media coverage of women’s sports as well as more public investment. In the court of public opinion, more needs to be done to invest in women’s sports.
The poll, conducted between Jan. 30 and Feb. 2, included responses from 1,534 adults in the United States. Its findings mirror what advocates of women’s sports have preached all along.
Half of the general population agrees they'd like to see more media exposure for women’s sports, the poll found. That may not seem like a lot — but, considering that women’s sports receives 5% of media coverage, according to a 2021 University of Southern California and Purdue University study, having that many people wanting progress is ... progress.
One part of the study poses an interesting concept: Should the government support women’s sports? More than half of the public, an estimated 60%, say yes.
It may seem unusual for sports to be publicly subsidized — but there absolutely is precedent.
Legislation and public funds already support professional and collegiate play, and taxpayer dollars have funded stadiums and other sports-related projects. Respondents of the poll agreed that the United States or state governments ought to fund women’s programs “as a means of developing strong role models for young fans."
Some 64% of those polled also agreed there is societal value to women’s sports. Which seems like a no-brainer. Who can argue with that?
There is plenty being done to further women’s sports. Just this week, Ally Financial and Disney announced a multi-year, multimillion-dollar investment designed "to advance equality in women’s sports coverage."
That investment will include expanding game highlights, branded content and features across ESPN networks, including SportsCenter segments that highlight top achievements in women’s sports.
The partnership also extends to sponsorships, with Ally becoming the official sponsor of the Atlantic Coast Conference, with title sponsorships of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, Women’s Soccer Championship and exclusive presenting sponsorship for this year’s Women’s Lacrosse Championship.
In addressing the historic partnership, Ally’s chief marketing and public relations officer, Andrea Brimmer, emphasized how women’s sports are too often treated as just an “add-on” to men’s sports. A partnership like this could go far in changing that narrative. Finally.
"The roadblocks we kept running into are that women's sports are generally sold as part of a men's package or as an add-on, and with an already scarce landscape locked up through category exclusivity, it made it nearly impossible to reach our internal investment goals," Brimmer said in a statement. "We pushed all parties involved to get creative.”
This is a great first step towards changing the narrative.
Last week, when King spoke to the Seton Hall community, she emphasized just how important these kinds of relationships are. “Sponsors and partnerships are vital," she said. "If you don’t have that, you will not make it. It’s real simple.”
Seeing the very things happening that an icon like King says need to happen is a promising sign for the future of women’s sports. And as the findings in the poll suggest, as women’s sports continue to trend in the right direction, the public may finally be ready for it.
Women & Sport is a NorthJersey.com column devoted to female athletes from the rec league level to those in college and the pros. If you've got a tip on an athlete from North Jersey who should be noted in the column, no matter how young they are or how old, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Seton poll: Yes to government funding for women's sports