In August I was hired to work
in a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division one, medium
sized, university’s athletics department. So far in my time with the university
I’ve noticed that female sports, whether or not they win, gains less marketing
attention from the university than the male sports. I feel this in unjust to
the female student-athletes as they are working just as hard as the males, but
see less crowds at their games due to lack of promotion brought to the team.
There was a study done and “found the major US television networks provide only
1.6% of airtime for women’s sports, and such coverage has actually decreased
from 6.3% in 2004. Across all television and print media, female athletes are
given only 8% of overall sports coverage (Messner & Cooky, 2010). This was
done for big time US networks, but is an overarching occurrence you will
witness at most colleges and universities that do not have the funding to
provide equal marketing for every team. Another study that was done on the
topic “argues that sport has been a central setting for the development of a
distinctive version of masculine identity and a bastion of sexist ideas.
Looking at the sporting world in this broader way also reveals the extent to
which class and ethnic differences have restricted sports participation and
continue to do so” (Henricks, 2009).
Many believe that one of the reasons women in sports do
not get the marketing they deserve is due to the fact men can’t accept the fact
that there are women in this world that are more physically fit than they are.
Then as women develop and become stronger, faster, etc. men who are scared will
then refer to the female athletes as “lesbians,” because no “straight female”
would be able to do what she just did, which now can make all of this relate to
what we have going on in the world right now. In a study that was done here is
what the say about athletic women being called lesbian by the public “The
lesbian label is a political weapon that can be used against any woman who
steps out of line” (Griffin, 1992). Any woman who defies traditional gender
roles is called a lesbian The LGBTQ is a group of people who are constantly
fighting for equality with all straight men and women but the public still has
not allowed it. Relating this to marketing in college sports, if a school was
to market an outstanding female athlete who is at the top of her game and
exceling above everyone else, but is truly LGBTQ, sadly the school will face
backlash from that because not everyone is accepting of that community yet, and
if we all have learned one thing, it’s that the people against this community
are a lot louder than the people who are supporting the community.
In Hebrews 12:14 it says, “Make every effort to live in
peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
This is saying that as people in a community we need to equally all walks of
life no matter race, creed, religion, and/or sexual orientation because
according to that passage if you do not see everyone as equals then you will
not have holiness in you.
I believe sports can help lead the charge for the issue,
especially at the college level. Have marketing departments understand that the
female student-athletes are working just as hard as the men and deserve the
same opportunities when it comes to marketing, and pulling in viewers, whether
it is live or over a broadcast. So many people in this world watch sports, and
if you can get people to watch more women’s sports by marketing it out more to
the public, I fully believe it will create a snowball effect that goes out into
the general public even if some of those people do not watch sports.
The steps that are being made are huge for the female and
the LGBTQ communities are they are starting to gain respect from all walks of
life slowly but surely. We still are not to completely equal yet, but the
progress that as been made is a vast improvement from 10 years ago. If sports
marketing can hop onto this momentum that is being created there is a good
chance that we will soon start to see a more consistent equality in sports.