How female cricket participation is growing 25% in Australia
Australia’s National Cricket Census, released last week, shows cricket is making significant headway in one of the most highly sought after modern markets — females.
Learnings from Australia
So SMN caught up with Sarah Styles, Head of Female Engagement at Cricket Australia who told us that last winter Cricket Australia launched a Growing Cricket for Girls Fund, with an initial investment of $1.5m. It saw associations and clubs create 363 new teams across 46 new all-girl competitions, demonstrating both the huge demand and the need for sport to create the right environment
With additional support from principal partner Commonwealth Bank, the total investment in Growing Cricket for Girls will be $6m (£3.6m) over four years – the single biggest investment by an Australian national sporting organisation into teenage girls sport.
Sarah added: “The activities in the schools is delivered through a combination of the State and Territory Field Force staff including Regional Cricket Managers / Market Development Officers and Teachers (especially School Ambassadors) with support from Participation Specialists focused on female and junior engagement.”
“Our approach with schools is to ensure that we provide a high quality and fun experience at all times. We have a variety of offers and solutions for all age levels that align both to the curriculum to assist Teachers and meet the needs of students as well. In respect to organised school competitions, State and Territories work closely with schools and their peak bodies to understand existing barriers to ascertain opportunities for establishing new competitions or growing existing ones. Initial barriers were worked through and short format solutions were found to be more suitable for the varying skill levels and time constraints.”
So what and who instigated this culture change?
“A whole of sport approach to growing the game for women and girls was critical, including strong endorsement from the various Boards and CEO’s at CA and State and Territory level.
Many people involved with female sport find it difficult to attract corporate sponsorship. How did you convince Commonwealth Bank to support this innovative project?
“Australian cricket has been in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank for over 30 years, and the two decided in the next phase of the partnership to focus on broadening diversity and inclusion in what is already a national game. The pair are working together to strengthen the foundations of cricket for women, Indigenous players, multicultural participants and players with disabilities through the A Sport for All program which supports local clubs around the country that are the lifeblood of the game and share innovation and inclusiveness in their respective fields. It’s all about ensuring cricket fans and players of all ages, genders, cultures and abilities have the chance to step up to the crease and get involved in Australia’s favourite summer pastime.”
However, the census revealed a need for more female-friendly pavilions, and the ambition is by build 500 by 2022, at a cost of $1 billion (£600m).
Cricket Australia’s recent facilities audit – the first complete survey by any sport of all its facilities around the country – found that just 20 per cent have changing rooms that are suitable for women and girls.
Strong interest in the female elite game
The second season of the Women’s Big Bash League saw more than 121,000 fans attend 28 matches (average gate 4000+) with an average of 239,000 tuning in to the 12 matches televised by Network Ten.
Live streaming of all non-televised matches via cricket.com.au, Facebook and the Cricket Australia app saw more than 1.5 million viewers.
So, a combination of significant investment, a strong culture change and a massive increase in media coverage is helping female cricket to grow at level which would be the envy of any other sport.
On the other side of the globe almost half of Danish female teenage footballers feel ignored
Almost half of Danish female teenage footballers feel ignored
Research by DBU, the Danish Football Association shows that female teenage footballers find it difficult to combine their interest in playing football with their education and 40% of them feel that their club prioritise boys over girls.
There are 63.000 female members of Danish football clubs (Danish population 5.1m) and the Danish women reached the finals of the recent Euros (1.5m Danes watched the final on telly), so the interest and quality are there.
The research also highlights that the girls out as much emphasis on the coach’s ability to create a good atmosphere, as his/her football skills and 40% of the girls would like to have more social events at the club.