CORRECTED-Sponsors catch on to booming womens' sport

Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:37am EDT
 
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(Corrects paragraph 7 to reflect latest Forbes rankings)

* TV audiences for women's World Cup double or triple vs 2011

* Ad revenue up strongly but still a fraction of men's World Cup

* Corporate interest from traditionally male sectors

* More funds allows more women to go pro, raising quality

By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN, June 17 (Reuters) - The popularity of the women's soccer World Cup is the latest sign of a virtuous cycle in female sport as increasing advertising revenue boosts professionalism and viewers.

Television audiences for the early women's World Cup matches in Canada are up strongly in many countries compared with the last competition in 2011, doubling or tripling in major markets like the United States and China.

Fox Sports, which is airing all 52 games live, is expected to raise ad revenue of more than $30 million, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.   Continued...