BLOG | by Bruce Cook

Vast majority of sports fans believe athlete pay should be based on skill, not gender

Ahead of the 5th Annual Diversity Summit being run alongside this week’s Solheim Cup, we took a look at whether fans of different sports have varying attitudes towards diversity issues.

First of all, we asked whether pay for professional athletes should be based on skill, rather than gender – and the vast majority (80%) agreed. Tennis fans were the most likely group of all to agree, closely followed by motorsport and rugby union fans. In general, very few people disagreed with this principle – on average, just 5% of sports fans – making a powerful case for change within sport.

Next, we asked whether fans felt comfortable when talking about diversity issues, like gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability.

The good news is that almost three-quarters of fans (72%) felt able to agree with this statement, with tennis fans most likely to agree (76%). And while 65% of golf fans agreed that they were comfortable, 16% told us that they were not – the highest proportion of our fan segments. Sports fans in general were slightly more likely (2% more) than the general public to feel comfortable talking about these kinds of issues.

Finally, we asked how long it would be before gender equality existed in the UK.

Golf fans were the most likely to say that it already existed, with athletics fans being the least likely to (25% v 14%).

Rugby league and motorsports fans were the most pessimistic in this respect. They were most likely to predict that gender equality will never exist.

YouGov Sport is official insights provider to the Aberdeen Standard Investments Diversity Summit, taking place at Gleneagles this week, in conjunction with the Solheim Cup.

BLOG | by Bruce Cook

Director, Consulting

Bruce’s career in sport & marketing spans 20+ years. An experienced sponsorship analyst, Bruce has contributed to several industry publications and conferences. He has forged the development of new evaluation models and is regularly sought for insight on the commercial side of sport.