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Eurovision Sport publishes media handbook on women’s sport ahead of International Women’s Day

03 March 2021
Eurovision Sport publishes media handbook on women’s sport ahead of International Women’s Day

Eurovision Sport is delighted to announce the publication of a new media handbook, ‘Reimagining Sport: Pathways to Gender-Balanced Media Coverage’, as part of its mission to drive greater and more consistent coverage of women’s sport across the EBU territory.

The handbook is published ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, 2021.

Reimagining Sport: Pathways to Gender-Balanced Media Coverage’, written by Elsa Arapi, Eurovision Sport’s Senior Sports Rights Manager and Women’s Sport Project Manager, seeks to build on women’s sport’s impressive upward trajectory over the last few years.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate negative effect on women’s sport, exposing vulnerabilities that show it still has a long way to go to reach parity with its male counterpart, the handbook argues that: ‘the successes of the last few years have demonstrated that with the right amount of investment from all stakeholders in the sports ecosystem, the women’s game can continue to grow and be just as entertaining, as attractive, and as first-rate as men’s sport’.

The handbook continues: ‘We, at the EBU, are determined to do our part to address this imbalance so that women’s sport continues to spring just as high. We know that by showing more women’s sport and, in turn, more female sporting role models, we can help inspire the next generation, challenge biases and stereotypes, and better reflect our diverse audience’.


  • 4% - Women’s sport global representation of all sports media coverage
  • 7% of the global $30 billion spent on sponsorship is directed at sportswomen and the female sports industry
  • 2 - The number of females in the world’s top 100 highest-paid athletes

Case studies/surveys

  • EBU Members increased their coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019™ by five times, and total hours viewed were up by an extraordinary 946% compared to the 2015 edition in Canada;
  • A joint Nordic investigation into the gender pay gap in sport found that female ice hockey players in Finland earn as little as 0.3 cents for every Euro earned by their male counterparts;
  • Analysis of coverage by nine broadcasters of the IBU Biathlon World Championships in 2020 found that the highest live market share over all broadcasting countries was reached in Norway for the Women’s Relay with 85.30%;
  • Irish EBU Member TG4’s sponsorship and broadcasting of the TG4 Ladies Gaelic Football Championship since 2001 has helped Ladies Gaelic Football become one of the fastest-growing sports in Ireland;
  • UK EBU Member the BBC commissioned a survey that found that 86% of female athletes who replied earn under £30,000 a year.
  • Since Swedish EBU Member SVT began to actively seek parity in men’s and women’s sports coverage in 2014 the traffic to its website has doubled and interest in women’s leagues has increased by 96%.

The way forward

In addition to analysing and assessing the position of women in sport and in sports broadcasting in 2021, ‘Reimagining Sport: Pathways to Gender-Balanced Media Coverage’ contains a range of recommendations and suggestions to help broadcasters, rights-holders and sports bodies increase gender equality in sport.

These include:

  • Building and maintaining an audience for women’s sport
  • Target-setting and the critical role of measurement
  • Recommendations for bias-free representations of sportswomen
  • Black female athletes: at the intersection of sexism and racism
  • Pathways to gender-balanced teams
  • Creating an environment of inclusivity and acceptance

In a foreword to ‘Reimagining Sport: Pathways to Gender-Balanced Media Coverage’, Glen Killane, Executive Director of Eurovision Sport, writes: ‘Promoting women’s sport is perfectly aligned with our values. As public service media, it’s part of our mission to reflect all the communities we serve and some of the most inspiring work of our Members springs from this sense of responsibility’.

Cliona O’Leary Deputy Head, TV Sport at Ireland’s RTE, and Chair, Women’s Sport Expert Group, adds: ‘Significantly, when the EBU surveyed members late last year, it found 92% of us see gender equality in our sports coverage as important, and this handbook has been designed to help the members who don’t have any strategy to address it.

‘Public service media has more permeation of society than most other media and working in an area which often delivers the biggest audience for our channels we have great potential to convey important messages of inclusivity, often in positive celebratory environments’.

Elsa Arapi, Glen Killane and Cliona O’Leary are all available for interview.

Relevant links and documents


Claire Rainford

Head of Corporate Communications