'Visibility of women’s sport is key but avoid the fluffy promotion'

Hajra Rahim

Last week in the Telegraph Women’s Sport supplement, Judy Murray shared her vision for the promotion of women’s sport by calling for the media and entertainment industry to appeal more to ‘newbies’. She wrote that it cannot be assumed that  people know scoring systems or the players. “We need to be thinking of the first-time visitors, to help them to get more from their visit.”

With a summer full of sporting action ahead, and women’s sport a vital part of the agenda, there is no better time to try and encourage more sport novices (and gurus) to tune in. But in order to do that, changes need to be made to the way in which sport is promoted more widely.

For newbies, Ms Murray suggested using the big screens to display how scoring systems work and a run-down of each of the players so they can be easily identified. “This kind of innovation creates higher profiles for players and more information for fans,” she wrote.

But what do the potential future audience think? From those who might want to attend a sporting event for the first time but are feeling nervous, to those new to women’s sport who want to start taking an interest?

We put the question to Telegraph readers and asked what changes they would like to see that would encourage more people to watch it. Here, we share the tips, suggestions and hopes that they would like to see for the way that women’s sport is promoted.

‘The more you see a sport the more you get into it’

@katierunslondon

"Promote it more. The more you see a sport the more you get into it. Little girls growing up with no women’s sport on the TV will reinforce the idea in their head that sport is just for men.

“It will also make it even more accessible for girls and women.

"Nike released their women's kits today and so many parents said they cant afford the first ever England designed top solely for women’s team. Get little girls in those football tops and start their love for women’s sport."

'If we can better educate the positive benefits of sport we can keep girls interested'

@Alicelivein

"Visibility is key. Prime time TV broadcasts of women’s games. Better coverage generally in the media.

"I also refute the idea that women simply aren’t interested. Athletics is a prime example where women and men have received near equal coverage in recent years and therefore the appetite for both is clear.

"I’d also feel that it really does start at school. Sport teaches so much more than a skill. If we can better educate the positive benefits of movement, team building skills and confidence building that sport can bring we will go some way in getting and more importantly keeping girls interested in sport."

‘Get young women in the sporting community in as many ways as possible'

@katmariaj

"Use the skills of local clubs and local coaches, pay them to get into schools and showcase the sports they love. Make sports enjoyable and open at an early age, recognise financial barriers to equipment and travel to clubs/activities and support barriers around periods and puberty.

"Build other subjects into sport - English and journalism, maths and sports stats, business and sports development and so on - get young women in the sporting community in as many ways as possible from as young as possible.

"Big sporting events need to be family friendly and women’s sports on the same platform (as in athletics and tennis etc.)"

‘Showcase the incredible personalities of the women behind the sports’

@kate_gray87

"Prime Time TV coverage is really important, as are other forms of media. But we need to think beyond just sports media. People follow people! By showcasing the incredible personalities of the women behind the sports and giving people an opportunity to get to know them, we can make them more relatable to a wider audience who will hopefully be more compelled to follow them in action."

‘There’s a danger of presenting women’s sport as a softer version of the men’s’

@Rebeccca

"There is a fine balance to be struck in the promotion of women’s sport which is yet to have been achieved; capturing audiences for women’s sport, but avoiding its ‘fluffy’ promotion.

"There is a real danger of talking down to the audience, and in doing so, presenting women’s sport in a light it tries so hard to avoid – simplistic, different, less interesting. A ‘softer’ version of the men’s.

"Admittedly, as a sportsperson and avid sports fan it’s hard to imagine stepping into the shoes and mindset of a complete novice. The prospect of tuning in to watch talented athletes, who are commentated on properly and presented against the same criteria as male athletes, is a much more attractive proposition than if I were promised the alternative as Judy suggests.

"If that’s what it takes to get capture a new, or ‘latecomer’ audience, then maybe energies need to be channelled elsewhere."

‘Commentators often assume that listeners already have a sound knowledge of the game and players’

@Sarah

"Last Summer, my brother took me to Lords for the first time, to watch a cricket match - England v Pakistan. I so enjoyed the experience. The atmosphere and the history of the ground I could feel and understand by myself, but the rules of the game and language used by the commentators on the radio we were listening to, needed some translation. I was so glad to have my brother to quietly guide me through the proceedings.

"The commentators often assume that listeners already have a sound knowledge of the game and players. This is not inclusive. It wouldn’t take too much time and effort for them, their fellow commentators and promoters to include some information for the less experienced watcher/listener.

"I would like to return and watch other matches, but not without some helpful knowledgeable person to guide me through the play."

What changes to the way women's sport is promoted would make you more likely to watch it? What would make you more likely to encourage your friends and family to watch it? We want to hear what you think. Tell us in the comments section below.