Author Topic: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?  (Read 1999 times)

jane

  • Mad pie-hating female
Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« on: December 09, 2013, 06:49:56 am »
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cycling/women-cyclists-face-an-uphill-climb-to-attract-sponsors-8990848.html
I really don't understand the commercial sponsors.... I, personally, hate capitalism and the human behaviour it promotes, but hey, a whole new huge potential market out there to be exploited and the resulting profits therein... I would have thought the saliva would be flowing freely.  If this piece can be believed, not so.  Is it possibly sexism within those potential industry sponsors stifling their entrepreneurial instincts?  Yes, it may be a niche market at the moment, but so was cycling itself a few years ago.  Very disappointed in the running dogs.

Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 08:17:44 am »
Isn't this something that could thrive on crowdfunding? I'd happily stump up a few quid, get it picked up by the leading men (or some of the leading men) and it could take off big time. (ETA: yes I am aware of the irony in that last part, but I am being real world practical)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 02:09:14 pm »
Rather than sexism among sponsors, perhaps you need to look at sexism among viewers? If they could be sure of sufficient audiences, companies would surely be willing to sponsor a race or team; the problem could well be that they expect women's sport to attract smaller audiences. The make up of those audiences could also be a problem: most sponsors are not involved in sports themselves, they depend on big events attracting a general audience, so it could be they fear a women's race will predominantly attract people who are only there for the cycling - not the event. Perhaps the companies they should be approaching are ones like Sweaty Betty* or maybe even ones not traditionally connected with sports sponsorship but whose customers are women, like cosmetics?

*Springs to mind because a catalogue arrived today - for some previous inhabitant.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 02:14:49 pm »
Viewers can be persuaded by the sponsors - just look at how popular women's tennis became.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 03:06:22 pm »
'whoever is the fastest' doesn't matter. It is about the competition and the battles that bring the viewers. Women's racing (given a decent enough and reasonably even field) can be every bit as exciting as the men's.

How much do advertising slots in mid evening television cost on ITV4 anyway?
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 03:24:37 pm »
It's all a bit chicken and egg as well. You cant get sponsors because there isn't a large audience and to get a large audience it has to be on TV but to be on TV it has to be really popular.
The last sport that was deliberately bootstrapped into huge popularity without already having a big following was snooker. It was basically a small scale sport with little sponsorship until the BBC decided to put it on TV and popularize it then everything changed and it now has massive sponsorship.
The problem is that there is only so much TV time for sports. We like cycling but other people would argue just as much for women's rowing or cricket or whatever (and WoW would want chess).
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 03:33:02 pm »
It has guaranteed air time. ITV4 will show it. It also will have an impact on many town centres.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 04:35:53 pm »
The last sport that was deliberately bootstrapped into huge popularity without already having a big following was snooker. It was basically a small scale sport with little sponsorship until the BBC decided to put it on TV and popularize it then everything changed and it now has massive sponsorship.
And that was only because they wanted something cheap which would exploit the then-new colour TV.
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 05:51:43 pm »
Julian mentioned women's tennis. I don't remember a time when that was not popular. It always had its stars who were known beyond the strict tennis fanbase, such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, and of course Viriginia Wade when she won in 1977. Men's cycling has now established the same with first Lance and now Wiggins and Frome becoming household names. I had thought women's cycling had done the same, at least in Britain with the many recent GB Olympic wins - and wasn't Pendleton or Rowse or someone used in a non-cycling advert? But it seems not.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

jane

  • Mad pie-hating female
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 07:24:45 pm »
It's a bit of a Catch 22, I think.  The sponsors are saying there isn't the audience.  But it's not that easy to watch women's cycling on TV, so many of us who would provide that audience can't prove them wrong, because there isn't that much to see.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 07:33:37 pm »
'whoever is the fastest' doesn't matter. It is about the competition and the battles that bring the viewers. Women's racing (given a decent enough and reasonably even field) can be every bit as exciting as the men's.
I agree. But I also agree with your brackets!
"given a decent enough and reasonably even field" is key.

If I thought the Womens Tour of Whereeversville had as strong a field as (say) the male Paris-roubaix, AND it was on ITV4, I'd definitely watch. From what I've seen/read women's racing doesn't have the strength in depth. Another chicken (or egg) of course.

If I'm wrong about the above, blame the broadcasters for mis-informing me  :P . But as anecdata, I've watched a couple of WCC races and Olympics and it's usually Vos and a couple of Italians racing for the win, with a very small field making it to the final lap. Compare with the Mens races, where Cavendish is rarely in the running, that's how tough it is.


Snooker is an interesting one - it's almost the perfect TV sport. You just send 1 camera-man to established venues, and the required on-screen data couldn't be simpler.
Bike-racing is a LOT harder to cover well. The BBC in particular demonstrate this repeatedly.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 01:05:13 am »
I've usually had my fill of cycling by the time the season ends. I can just about drag up some interest for Paris Tours, after which my inner spectator goes to sleep, snores right through the Tour Down Under and wakes up just in time for the Her Volk.  Adding a whole parallel series of events won't help because people will get attention fatigue - and calling them sexist for that really isn't helpful either.  Then again, I believe a frequent complaint from the men's teams iis that they do too much racing these days and tire their riders, so if an interspersal of women's events meant that the guys got a decent break between races, that could be good for everyone.

TimC

  • Bike (ex)pilot
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2013, 06:34:04 am »
The commercial value of bike racing isn't a given - look at the number of sponsors currently getting out of the UK men's racing scene. I have a feeling that, with the exception of the Grand Tours, and the ToB, sponsors aren't convinced that there is a large and sustainable audience for cycle racing on mainstream, prime-time TV. It isn't exciting enough, and it takes too much commitment for a general audience to understand and give the time to. If that's the case for men's road racing, there's little incentive for sponsors to invest money in developing women's cycle racing - there are easier hits, such as women's football.

I would have thought that there may be some mileage in promoting TV Cyclocross, or a women's Tour Series as the racing is short, easy to understand, and fun, but no-one's grabbed that nettle yet.


Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2013, 07:04:12 am »
Bike-racing is a LOT harder to cover well. The BBC in particular demonstrate this repeatedly.

A very important point. Helicopter, multiple vehicles, some fixed cameras, enough knowledge and awareness to be able to decode the tactics and comment intelligently on breakaways etc.


Badly covered sports just gets people shouting at the screen. And turning off.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 07:28:05 am »
I wonder if it's similar to boxing?
Heavyweight boxing gets a lot of promotion and TV coverage where the lighter weights very rarely do. Boxers tend to prefer to watch the lighter weights fighting because the lighter weight fighters can't rely so much on brute force.

Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2013, 09:54:46 am »
I wonder if it's similar to boxing?

After some commutes, I think you may be right.

Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2015, 02:16:10 am »
*thread resurrection*

I've just spent an afternoon on the WCA stand at the finish expo for the 3rd stand of the Tour of California. As well as being some really inspiring women, it's great to seem them really pushing for more women to get cycling at all levels, as well as encouraging more equality for woman's professional cycling. Change isn't going to happen overnight, but it's great to see an organisation trying to make a difference.

Emma
California Dreaming

Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2015, 09:27:17 am »
I watched the Womens TdY - it was a short race, 80km round a 20km course.

Plus points were that the format created excitement at the finish line as there were interim sprint points. It was popular with the crowd.

Major minus points were that there was absolutely no commentary, despite the action taking place in front of the commentator's box.
Minor minus points; it was a open race, so you had cat 3 racers mixing it with cat1. The cat 3's were destroyed and a significant proportion dropped out of the race after 2-3laps.

<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2015, 10:45:05 am »
Almost all women's racing is run as either E/1/2/3/4 or E/1/2/3 or 1/2/3/4.  There are very few 3rd & 4th cat only women's races, unlike in men's racing, where race days often include a 4th cat only event, or a 3rd & 4th cat event.  In women's racing it seems to be expected that the newer/less good riders will just get spat out the back until they are better riders.  It's quite demoralising, and where races cost £25-30 to enter with no chance of even seeing the race for the win, let alone being in it, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of female riders who try it don't stick with it for that long.

It's chicken and egg though - road races are expensive to run and organisers can't afford to hold races for a handful of riders.  That said, several of the North West region races have been sold out at 80 riders.

For female riders wanting to start out racing in the UK, the Racing Chance Foundation is a good place to drop by.


David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Women's Racing hampered by Sexism and let down by Capitalism?
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2015, 01:27:12 pm »
The best thing for women's racing will be more circuits like that at York, and races based on ability groups rather than BC points ranking, age or gender. Perfectly possible to do and a good way to bring people on. However, you know that if you do well one week, the next week you may find you are moved up a group.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes