What league? the representation of female athletes in Australian television sports coverage

Helen Caple*, Kate Greenwood, Catharine Lumby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores why women's sport in Australia still struggles to attract sponsorship and mainstream media coverage despite evidence of high levels of participation and on-field successes. Data are drawn from the largest study of Australian print and television coverage of female athletes undertaken to date in Australia, as well as from a case study examining television coverage of the success of the Matildas, the Australian women's national football team, in winning the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup in 2010. This win was not only the highest ever accolade for any Australian national football team (male or female), but also guaranteed the Matildas a place in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany [where they reached the quarter-finals]. Given the close association between success on the field, sponsorship and television exposure, this article focuses specifically on television reporting. We present evidence of the starkly disproportionate amounts of coverage across this section of the news media, and explore the circular link between media coverage, sponsorship and the profile of women's sport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalMedia International Australia
Issue number140
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


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