infographic sports media

The Gender Gap: Where are the Women in Major Sports Media?

3:48 PMGoalChatter

by Aleks V | @aleksvee

It's no secret that more and more women continue to break through to top positions in the sports industry, but how many actually influence content on major sports websites? There are a handful of notable female sports bloggers, but their audience is usually limited to fellow bloggers and fans of women's sports. A readership of thousands is only guaranteed for writers at the top companies. Female sports writers and reporters do have a voice outside of the blogosphere, but not one that is loud enough.

Click here to view full size interactive infographic via Piktochart.

Yahoo! Sports
Yahoo! Sports ranks at the top of eBizMBA's Top 15 Most Popular Sports Websites in November 2014. Unlike some of the other sites, it was difficult to find a comprehensive list of staff for the Yahoo! Sports blogs. None of the blogs are currently edited by women. YS did have a female editor, Maggie Hendricks, who was in charge of its Olympics and MMA blogs. She now works at USA Today. According to the Yahoo! Sports official Twitter handle, there are currently 62 active staff, only 3 of which are women. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer should probably do something about those numbers.

ESPN has the highest percentage of female writers among the leading sports sites. 6 of 38 writers are women, with 3 holding senior writing positions. Another 3 are deputy, associate and assistant editors. Out of 56 positions with "editor" in the title, 20 are held by women. In July 2010, the network launched espnW, a platform dedicated mostly to women's sports. ESPN also employs a handful of female anchors and reporters. My question for them: where are the female play-by-play commentators?

The 3rd most visited sports site, BleacherReport has the smallest percentage of female writers. Of BR's 38 Lead Writers, only one is a woman. The "hundreds of pieces of content" created daily on BR are mostly the work of men.
5 of 71 staff members on Twitter are women. All are either hosts, co-hosts or reporters.

Sports Illustrated describes SI as "the most respected sports media brand in the world". The magazine "reaches 19+ million sports fans every week". SI's website lists 80 writers, only 6 of which are women. SI's staff, according to 2011 data, includes 12 senior editors, 3 of which are women. Note that the stats do not include writers or editors of spin-offs like SI Kids.

Female Viewership

Women may have a limited sphere of influence in sports media, but the tides are turned when it comes to viewership. According to, "female sports fans make up about 35% of fans in each league". Even mainstream media have pointed out that women are a significant portion of NFL viewership, one that continues to grow despite controversies in the league involving the treatment of women. The Washington Post calls women the league's most important demographic, yet female NFL writers are not teeming the web. The main question is, if 1 out of 3 sports fans is a woman, why is female viewership for all major sports under 40%? The answer may be tied to the fact that the majority of sports reporters, analysts and commentators are men. Sure, there are quite a few female sideline reporters and hosts, but their brief contributions to analyses and discussions are hardly influential. Maybe more women would watch major sports if more women reported on them.

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