Published 21 March 2024

8 min read

With both the 2024 Paris Olympics and UEFA Euros this summer, the spotlight on sports is white hot. Yet key barriers to access (physical, socio-economic and gender) are preventing many fans from getting fit. From ally-ship services for women, to e-zines dismantling teen taboos and initiatives backing disabled consumers, we unpack how brands (including beauty, health and automotive) can enable sports participation.

Championing Women: Pioneering Sponsorship, Sororities & Safe Spaces

Team Zalpha: AI and E-Zines Keeping Young Girls Moving

Supporting All-Abilities Sports

Grassroots Venues & Learning Hubs Spur Socio-Economic Change

Sports Brands Blitzing Life Pressures

Global revenue from elite women’s sports (matchday, broadcast, commercial partnerships) will surpass $1bn in 2024 (see Key Stats), yet a gender exercise gap is curbing women’s enthusiasm. With intimidating environments (44%) and “not feeling sporty enough” (42%) cited globally as obstacles to participation (see Key Stats), the brand opportunity is large: motivational services, virtual sororities, inspirational docuseries and pioneering sponsorships are catalysing change.

Global revenue from elite women’s sports (matchday, broadcast, commercial partnerships) will surpass $1bn in 2024 (see Key Stats), yet a gender exercise gap is curbing women’s enthusiasm. With intimidating environments (44%) and “not feeling sporty enough” (42%) cited globally as obstacles to participation (see Key Stats), the brand opportunity is large: motivational services, virtual sororities, inspirational docuseries and pioneering sponsorships are catalysing change.

Summary

Championing Women: Pioneering Sponsorship, Sororities & Safe Spaces

Global revenue from elite women’s sports (matchday, broadcast, commercial partnerships) will surpass $1bn in 2024 (see Key Stats), yet a gender exercise gap is curbing women’s enthusiasm. With intimidating environments (44%) and “not feeling sporty enough” (42%) cited globally as obstacles to participation (see Key Stats), the brand opportunity is large: motivational services, virtual sororities, inspirational docuseries and pioneering sponsorships are catalysing change.

Team Zalpha: AI and E-Zines Keeping Young Girls Moving

With one million UK girls dropping out of sports following primary school, and the number in the US playing high-school sports trailing the number of boys (see Key Stats), the gender gap starts early. ‘See it to be it’ inspiration via AI ad campaigns, taboo-tackling e-zines and activations promoting the life-changing power of play show how to keep young girls in the sports game.

Supporting All-Abilities Sports

Catering to the disabled community is business (as well as morally) critical: not only is participating in sports important to 82% of British people with disabilities, but they also want to spend more on being active than non-disabled people (34% v 27%, see Key Stats). Brand-backed disability-specific digital fitness instruction hubs, empathetic storytelling and accessible local community training concepts lead the way.

Grassroots Venues & Learning Hubs Spur Socio-Economic Change

With 23.9% of young North American city-dwellers citing “no facility near my house” as the reason for not exercising (ResearchGate, 2023), grassroots sports needs brand allies. Brands including Australian-British swim specialists Speedo, Vodafone and American video-game publisher EA Sports FC are providing venues, libraries and training, strengthening community bonds and building healthy legacies.

Sports Brands Blitzing Life Pressures

Other brands are focusing instead on tackling how sports can tackle blockers in other areas of people’s lives, including mental health concerns and/or more everyday performance-based pressure.

Brands Breaking Barriers With Sport

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Offering access to over 350 consumer and cross-industry reports annually, Stylus Membership is your window to tomorrow’s most exciting opportunities.

We already arm more than 500 of the world’s most forward-thinking brands and agencies with the creative insights they need to make transformative business decisions.

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