Minister's call to broadcasters over women's sport

Jessica Ennis Heptathlete Jessica Ennis was one of the female stars of the Olympic Games

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New Culture Secretary Maria Miller has written to broadcasters urging them not to cut their coverage of women's sport now London 2012 is over.

Mrs Miller said the success of Team GB's female athletes had been truly inspirational.

The huge TV audiences showed the public had a real appetite for mainstream coverage of women's sport, she added.

The BBC said it had a comprehensive portfolio of women's sport and always looked at how to increase coverage.

Mrs Miller is the minister for women and equalities as well as Culture Media and Sport Secretary.

She said the British media did a fantastic job over the past few weeks championing the achievements of Jessica Ennis, Ellie Simmonds and other young women whom she said were powerful role models vital to delivering a sports legacy from the Olympics and Paralympics.

'Broadcasting legacy'

But she told broadcasters that, outside the Games, women's sport had been "woefully under represented on television", with women's cricket, football and netball "buried pretty deep in the schedules, if shown at all".

The minister wants to meet broadcasters to discuss how the momentum from London 2012 can be maintained.

Mrs Miller wrote: "I realise there are considerable pressures on your schedules but I would be most grateful if we could perhaps meet to discuss how women's sports coverage can get more profile in the mainstream, helping to build a real broadcasting legacy from the Games."

Among the highlights of the Olympics was Jessica Ennis winning heptathlon gold on "Super Saturday" for Team GB's athletics team.

Some 16.3 million people tuned in for that, while there was a television audience of 11.3 million for Rebecca Adlington's bronze medal in the 800m freestyle swimming.

Mrs Miller's plea comes nine months after the BBC came under fire when its annual Sports Personality of the Year award did not include any women among its 10-strong shortlist.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    Utter feminist nonsense. It's not just men who think many ladies sports are slowerand of less quality. Most women do too. Viewing figures back this up. Just look at Tennis for an example. all advertisers and brodcasters know if they showed more women's tournamnets no-one would watch, ditto Golf. Ladies Football. Not even 5th tier. Politics as usual.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    The BBC are guilty of this too. During the Paralympics the GB men won a Bronze in the team event for Table Tennis and there was a great write up from the BBC about this amazing result. However, on the same day the GB women also won a Bronze in the team event for Table Tennis and there was not a word mentioned on the BBC website.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    It'd be unfair to broadcast a sports event simply on the merit of gender. Whilst I completely support giving women athletes greater coverage to try and build a commercially viable following, I also believe it is as equally fair not to broadcast it should it fail to gain traction.

    Men's sports aren't predominant because of quality, but simply because it receives greater audiences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    I am a convert to women's sport which is just getting better and better.
    As well as the wonderful performances at the Olympics, the England cricket team are great to watch and the idea of showing their matches prior to men's games, will gain a greater audience. The standard of women's football just keeps improving too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    People, I assume men, are posting that only men's elite sport is worth watching because it is "better' quality. This is subjective and disputable but also wrong. People enjoy watching sport at a variety of levels. They enjoy the personalities, the endeavour, the competition. It's not all about the Aryan dream of the perfect male. Get over yourselves. I want to watch more women's sport.


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