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Which Sports Teams Have The Most Women In Leadership?

The world’s biggest companies have been being urged to make their boardrooms more diverse for years, and while things may be slowly improving, a report by Deloitte suggests that women occupy just 16.9% of seats on company boards globally.

But how does this look in the traditionally male-dominated world of professional sports? And how does it vary between different sports? Our sports betting analysts looked at over 200 teams from the UK and US to find out.

Note: organizational structures vary quite a bit from one team to another. We looked at the highest-ranking group of officials at each team, which in the majority of cases (but not all), was a board of directors for British teams and executive officials for US teams.

The UK Sports Teams With The Most Diverse Leadership

The UK Sports Teams With The Most Diverse Leadership

Of all the teams that we analyzed in the UK (indeed, in the US too), just one had more women than men in leadership roles.

This was Kilmarnock FC, a team in soccer’s Scottish Premiership, which has three directors: one male and two female.

A further two had 50-50 parity on their boards (Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League and Leicester Tigers in rugby’s Premiership), meaning that just 3.7% of teams have equality at boardroom level.

In terms of which sports had the greatest diversity, cricket was the clear winner (though still low), with 13.9% of board positions taken by women.

The UK Sports Teams With The Least Diverse Leadership

The UK Sports Teams With The Least Diverse Leadership

Over half (58%) of the teams that we looked at had no women on their boards at all, while almost all of them (96%) had more men than women in these senior positions.

The list of those teams with no female representation includes some of the biggest in the UK, including Liverpool, Manchester City, and Leeds United soccer teams, as well as teams such as Newcastle Falcons and Ospreys in rugby union, and Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves in rugby league.

In fact, rugby league had the lowest female representation of each of the sports we looked at, with women taking just 4.1% of board positions.

The US Sports Teams With The Most Diverse Leadership

The US Sports Teams With The Most Diverse Leadership

In the US, many teams didn’t list a board of directors on their website, so we looked at their executive leadership teams.

And while that usually encompasses a larger group, there were still no teams that had more women than men in these positions.

However, there were four teams with 50-50 parity in their leadership positions, two of which were based in Pittsburgh (the Pirates and the Steelers).

Basketball was the sport with the greatest diversity, with just short of a quarter (23.2%) of leadership roles taken by women.

The US Sports Teams With The Least Diverse Leadership

The US Sports Teams With The Least Diverse Leadership

Similar to the UK, the vast majority of teams had more men than women in leadership roles (96.7%), although just 17% had no women at the highest level of their organization.

Some of these teams include the New England Patriots of the NFL, Miami Heat in the NBA and Boston Bruins in the NHL.

Ice hockey had the lowest representation of the big four sports leagues, with just 18.8% of senior team members being female.

Methodology

We analyzed each team currently competing in the following major leagues in the UK and USA:

  • Premier League (association soccer)
  • Scottish Premiership (association soccer)
  • Premiership Rugby (rugby union)
  • Pro14 (rugby union)
  • Super League (rugby league)
  • County cricket (cricket)
  • National Football League (American football)
  • National Basketball Association (basketball)
  • Major League Baseball (baseball)
  • National Hockey League (ice hockey)

For each team in each league we took the number of men and women in leadership roles at the organization, sourced from the teams’ official websites.

We specifically looked at the highest-ranking group of officials at each team, which in the majority of cases (but not all), was a board of directors for British teams and executive officials for US teams, although the specific organization of the hierarchy on each team’s website differed.

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