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Fans at UK women's sport 'set to break 500,000 barrier'

By Bill Wilson
Business reporter, BBC News

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionAction from Chelsea v Liverpool in England's Women's Super League football

The number of fans attending elite women's sport in the UK is set to break the half million barrier for the first time in 2018, new research suggests.

Since 2013, attendances for UK women's sports have grown, on average, 38% year-on-year, according to sports marketing agency Two Circles.

They now predict the number of fans watching women's sport will increase by 49% on 2017 to hit 682,000 in 2018.

They say growth has been driven by increased awareness and media coverage.

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Meanwhile recent major international tournaments hosted in the UK, such as the 2017 ICC Women Cricket World Cup, which sold-out three games including the final, have boosted interest and viewing numbers.

On Saturday, Harlequins Ladies rugby club are set to achieve a world record attendance for a women's club match when it hosts Richmond in the Tyrrells Premier 15s at the Twickenham Stoop.

Cricket's Kia Super League, football's Women's Super League and netball's Vitality Superleague have all contributed significantly to the growth in attendances.

This year's attendance figures will also receive a boost from the Women's Hockey World Cup at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this July and August.

"Fans will pay to watch quality, elite sport and rights-holders prepared to invest in both women's teams and events are reaping the rewards as interest in women's sport continues to grow," said Gareth Balch, chief executive of Two Circles.

Their attendance data does not including events where men's and women's sport take place at the same time such as multi-sex events and male-female double-header games.

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