Women’s sports and prize money

A few short links for you today, that are kind of related.

1.  If you’re in the UK, you might have seen a lot of things on various BBC sites on the different between prize money for women and men in the same sports.  That’s partly to do with this BBC report, which does a sport-by-sport comparison (including the Para-sports, which really suffer here) – and there’s an article about it too on the BBC site.

2.  One of the places this has been talked about is on BBC Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour, where superstar Emma Pooley was discussing the issues.  If you missed it, listen here (if it’s restricted, you might need something like Hola set to the UK)

3.  Helen Wyman‘s latest blog on Cyclingnews talks about the work she’s been doing on prize money within cyclocross, and how she worked with Twenty20 Cycles to get equal prize money for the women at Saturday’s Koppenbergcross.  Helen also talked to me recently about how since men’s cyclocross in Belgium is pretty much at saturation point, so women’s cycling is the obvious way to bring in more audience – that’s in part 1 of my interview with her, in part 2 she talks more about her work with the UCI.

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How much DOES it cost to run a women’s cycling team?

I’ve always wondered how much we’ve talking about, when women’s cycling teams talk about sponsorship etc. I’ve heard that an top-level women’s team cost about €300k, or the very top level teams are €400k, so I was very interested to read this article on Cycling Weekly, where Matrix Fitness Racing Academy DS/owner/manger Stefan Wyman talks about how much it cost to run a women’s team. I’m going to interview Stef over the weekend, but in the meantime, check out these figures, and if you know any companies pass them on!

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Cycling and the unspoken

Anyone who’s been a cycling fan for more than five minutes has had to confront the doping question, explaining to friends & family why we still follow the sport, explaining Lance Armstrong, looking at Tour de France performances and questioning them even when it’s riders we love.  But sometimes I think the doping question is used as an excuse to hide every other issue.  There’s a feeling out there in the media and some fans, that once we conquer doping, cycling will be sorted.  As a women’s cycling fan, of course I know that’s not the case, but there’s a whole range of things that aren’t talked about in the media or on fansites – or at least publicly – and that make me angry.  I love this sport, so much, but there are so many issues that worry me, enrage me, and make me feel helpless, because how can fans change things?

Investing money in women’s cycling will totally, utterly and irrevocably ruin it

WARNING: This post may contain traces of sarcasm

Recently everyone’s favourite host of late-night (or early evening the previous day, depending on your timezone) Q&A sessions, Amber Pierce wrote a rambling and hysterical piece of histrionic propaganda about the paucity of financial investment in women’s cycling. Among her many emotionally charged and irrational claims was this little gem:

“And for the love of pete, STOP this narrative that investing money in women’s cycling will somehow ruin it. Money is precisely what women’s cycling needs to progress; the passion, professionalism, people, ideas and motivation are all there.”

Amber is, of course, dead wrong. Continue reading