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Women's sport draws record viewership in 2023 after FIFA Women's World Cup and Solheim Cup drama

Huge drama at the FIFA Women's World Cup including England's run to the final plus a thrilling Solheim Cup contributed to the biggest year yet for women's sport in the UK; average TV viewing times increased by 16 per cent in 2023

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Team Europe celebrated retaining the Solheim Cup by jumping in a swimming pool!

A record 46.7 million viewers in Britain tuned in to watch women's sport on TV in 2023, eclipsing 2019's mark by almost a million, according to research published by the Women's Sport Trust.

The FIFA Women's World Cup final, which England lost 1-0 to Spain at Stadium Australia, was 2023's most-watched women's sport event on TV with 38.4 million viewing hours.

The figures, which reflected viewers tuning in for at least one minute of women's sport on linear TV, showed the average viewing time increased by 16 per cent to 10 hours and seven minutes per person, compared with eight hours and 44 minutes in 2022.

"The industry needs to capitalise on these opportunities to drive further awareness and engagement, so we can continue to broaden the audience for women's sports, and reach the fans where they are," CEO of Women's Sport Trust Tammy Parlour said.

"Women's sport is attracting more younger, female fans which is great news for the industry as it shows we are starting to attract a distinctive fanbase."

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The best of the action from day three of the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin in Spain

On pay TV, the final day of the Solheim Cup, on Sky Sports, which was retained by Europe after a 14-14 draw against Team USA in September, was the most-watched women's sport event with 3.1 million viewing hours.

The research also showed that the Women's World Cup generated 25.7 million streams on digital platform BBC iPlayer, an increase of 75 per cent from the 2019 edition.

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England women's manager Sarina Wiegman says 2023 was an incredible year for her side, while goalkeeper Mary Earps suggests that she still has a lot more to give despite winning the women’s goalkeeper award at The Best FIFA Awards 2023

While domestic sport consumption on TV declined by five per cent, the Women's Sport Trust said social media platform TikTok played a key role in increasing Women's Super League video views by 268 per cent over 2022's figure to 150 million views.

It added that football remained the most-watched sport with 74 per cent of viewing hours, followed by cricket (15 per cent), rugby union (five per cent) and golf (three per cent).

Women's sport on Sky Sports in 2024

This year promises to be another big year of women's sport on Sky Sports with some huge events in the coming months.

In the Women's Super League, leaders Chelsea are trying to claim a fifth successive title before head coach Emma Hayes departs to take over as USA manager.

Manchester City are just three points behind Chelsea with Arsenal in the title race too and Sky Sports will bring you live coverage of the run-in to the final fixtures on May 18.

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Our pick of the best goals from January in the Women's Super League

European Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen will lead her side once again in 2024 with the tournament moving to even number years to avoid clashing with the Ryder Cup.

Pettersen will be in charge in Gainesville, Virginia this time around as her team aim to make it two wins in a row on American soil, having triumphed 15-13 in Ohio in 2021.

Ireland's Leona Maguire has played a starring role in the previous two Solheim Cups, racking up 4.5 points out of five in the States and then three out of five in Spain, turning herself into the pivotal figure Ian Poulter became for Europe's Ryder Cup side for such a long period of time.

Maguire will look to make a similar impact in 2024 but a wounded America will be out for revenge in September.

Sky Sports will also show the five women's golf majors with England's Charley Hull looking to go one better than her two runner-up finishes in majors last year.

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Leona Maguire chips in for birdie on the 18th to save the day for Team Europe at the Solheim Cup

In cricket, Heather Knight's women's team have not tasted T20 World Cup glory since the inaugural edition on home soil in 2009. However, after winning the T20 leg of the Women's Ashes and then securing a 2-1 series victory in India late last year, confidence will be high.

They possess match-winners in left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone, opening batter Danni Wyatt and all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt and have lost the fear of Australia they perhaps once had.

That said, when these tournaments come around Australia usually get the job done, winning the last three T20 World Cups and six of the last seven. Will their dominance on the big stage continue this autumn?

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Back in August, England Women's captain Heather Knight says it's 'awesome news' that the men's and women's national sides will receive equal match fees

On the tennis court, we could be seeing the start of a new 'Big Four' emerging as Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and Coco Gauff assert their dominance on the WTA Tour.

Sky Sports will show every WTA Tour event (excluding domestic events) and the US Open in August where those four names will be going head-to-head.

Britain's Emma Raducanu also continues her comeback from injury while the likes of Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart and Heather Watson aim to climb up the rankings.

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Caroline Dubois outclassed Miranda Reyes but could not find a stoppage despite landing plenty of hurtful combinations

In boxing, Caroline Dubois and Lauren Price will all be looking to move towards their ultimate goal of winning world championships, with plenty of thrills expected as their journeys continue.

Every F1 Academy race will also be live on Sky Sports F1 during seven Grands Prix this year, with the season starting on March 8 in Saudi Arabia and finishing on December 8 in Abu Dhabi.

In rugby league, the Betfred Women's Super League Grand Final will be shown live on Sky Sports again, along with the play-off semi-finals and selected BWSL regular-season matches.

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