A Universal Language

A comparative lingustic analysis in partnership with                



Content and language are hugely influential on our perceptions. Words and images can influence our thoughts through two of our five senses, sight and sound, and also for some people, touch. Experiencing language from a particular viewpoint creates a subjective understanding of the world around us.

Given that the majority of people experience sporting events through media only, it is a powerful tool in influencing public attitudes.

There have been several studies looking into the type of coverage female sports teams or athletes have received. Petty & Pope from Durham University manually analysed the content of 181 articles from popular UK newspapers around the 2015 Women’s World Cup and reported generally positive results. The skill and achievements of the England team and individual players were highlighted, as opposed to an excess of coverage around their appearance or personal lives, which had been found previously. The authors suggest that this represented a positive shift on the reporting of women’s football.

However, whilst the subject of women’s sport articles is frequently studied, the language used by the media within these articles is not. Research has shown that the language used within advertising text can affect a consumer’s perceptions of a brand or product.

As of 2018, UNESCO reported that only 4% of sports media content is dedicated to women’s sport. We’re expecting this figure to gradually increase as women’s sport becomes more aligned with the mainstream media, however, research is lacking in terms of how that reporting is, and should be, presented.

Sport: The Universal Language will look specifically at the reporting of Women’s Football. Whether it differs to the men’s, how it differs, and the impact of any differences, with the objective of understanding how a brand should involve themselves and the associated benefits.

In the words of Seth Godin, ‘content is the only marketing that’s left’, and if this is true, then it’s vital content is helping, and not hindering, the marketing of women’s sport.

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© MediaCom & talkSPORT 2019