While women’s sports leagues were collectively valued at $32 billion last year, they’re now $8 billion in the red.
OK, that’s not true. But if it were, you’d question your investment.
Those figures actually reflect crypto market examples — yet somehow, that volatile sector seems to receive faithful investment in a way women’s sports doesn’t.
Examining recent tech history, we find similar controversy: more market crashes, liquidations and losses. Crypto traders suffered $320 million in losses in liquidations as the SEC lawsuit against Binance spurred a huge market plunge.
The SEC is suing Coinbase for violating investor protection laws and for operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency. Terraform CEO Do Kwon was arrested for allegedly manipulating the price of stablecoin TerraUSD — wiping out $60 billion in investor value.
All these events occurred within one year. And if another sector experienced this sort of crisis — if the founders of the companies in which you invested were getting arrested for fraud — you’d rethink your investment approach.
There’s an evolving future for crypto, and high-risk assets have their place, but when investors allocate funds, they should add safer assets in any portfolio. In my work, I see a reticence toward investing in women’s sports that reveals a disparity: The sector presents an obvious, stable growth solution.
Women’s sports and cryptocurrency aren’t traded the same way. But any company’s or individual’s ability to consider high-risk investments must be balanced by stabilizing forces that provide steady growth. And women’s sports leagues, teams, and brands are continually increasing in monetary value.
Amid volatility in some of business’ most high-profile sectors, facing ongoing economic uncertainty, investing in women’s sports this year is the most stabilizing investment one can make to create that balance. You just have to afford women’s sports the faith they’ve consistently, rightfully earned.
The elements of women’s sports that make them a portfolio powerhouse are clearly demonstrated by the numbers.
Consistent social and digital growth
Women’s sports elevate the social/digital media world, which means you’d still be investing in the digital boom you adore. The women’s NCAA 2023 tournament generated 177 million impressions and $5 million+ in social value, and female athletes are garnering twice the social engagement compared to their male counterparts, despite having fewer followers on average.
Good investing strategy seeks the next venture that will take off — the next market disruptor. Women’s sports is it.
Refocus digital-focused investment around an institution where positive momentum grows. Consider collaborating or advertising with related outlets or collaborating with women’s leagues and teams to produce co-branded social media content. You’ll gain visibility among an increasingly engaged audience while empowering expanding platforms.
Increasing fan and audience engagement
Fans are getting more involved in women’s sports, and varied leagues have seen an increase in engagement versus 2022. WNBA App monthly active users grew 147% last year. Nebraska’s volleyball team sold out a football stadium, breaking a record of 82,000.
And then there’s crypto. Trading volumes dropped in Q2 to yearly lows and average daily volumes for Q2 were down 44% versus Q1.
Now recall the last time you went to a sports event. Much goes into making fan experiences memorable, but reconsider how to elevate the women’s sports experience. Which services or products can your brand or organization provide to make that better — more effective or fun? Women’s sports fans are more likely to remember, buy from, and engage brands that sponsor or collaborate with women’s sports leagues, teams, and athletes. When you invest in women’s sports fans, they will return the favor.
Powerful financial gains amid economic volatility
Then there’s the simple investment strategy of moving toward where the money is actually flowing. The WNBA achieved double-digit growth for partnership revenue this year — an all-time 27-year high. The 2023 Women’s World Cup increased prize money to $152 million, 3x more than in 2018.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk said Twitter/X advertising revenue has plunged roughly 50%.
Because of standing inequities, I recognize hesitancy to invest in women’s sports, but leagues that afford to pay players more, increase prize money, and build state-of-the-art facilities generate undeniable revenue. Crypto is about trading currencies in digital spaces, but women’s sports provide cultural currency. Join a venture capital fund such as The Monarch Collective, and/or partner with other brands integrating into women’s sports — if you’re scared to do it alone.
Investment in women’s sports leagues, teams, and athletes — from organizations, brands, communities and beyond — will advance equity within all sports. Viewership, attendance, revenue, and fan demand are all up. The time to invest is now.
Brands that invested early show strong returns in a variety of ways: VISA saw a 27x increase in positive interactions with women’s sports fans via their USWNT partnership. DoorDash (22%), Nike, and Budweiser (11x) experienced similar return on investment (ROI).
Good investing strategy seeks the next venture that will take off — the next market disruptor. Women’s sports is it. You can do good — and do good business at the same time.
This piece is crafted in partnership with The Collective Think Tank: a global consortium of academic minds and industry leaders focused on gender parity and improving diversity. The collaboration is led by The Collective, Wasserman’s women-focused division.