Women as ‘Armchair Audience’? Evidence from German National Team Football

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 University of Muenster
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Research conducted here aims to contribute to the ongoing debate about gender differences in sport spectatorship. While media coverage of sports represents a “gendered experience”, recent research has questioned the explanatory value of anatomical sex for understanding differences in sport consumption. Analyses of TV ratings for German national team football presented here are set out to test the idea that women are more likely to constitute an “armchair” or “fair weather” audience. Even though watching national team football is clearly a male domain and the men’s team is much more popular, female and male audiences for the men’s team respond to the same set of product characteristics, which supports the idea that women follow men in their TV sport consumption. Moreover, results point to gender differences in demand for women’s team matches supporting the idea that it matters how gendered sport is. Suggestions for future research and policy are made.

The authors are with the Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany.

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