Although, what Johnson and her colleagues discovered was shocking. Buying ads against professional women’s sports coverage had an extremely low ceiling– simply because so little of this coverage exists.
This meant that even if Johnson and other Google execs wanted to up their ad spend, there just was not enough inventory for this investment.
Google has since recognized this as a major problem and is now actively pursuing media partners to create supported content.
It is likely that the company will find smaller startups racing to fill the void of women’s sports coverage; meanwhile, legacy outlets still have not shown unwavering commitment to the sector.
Regardless, Google just needs one partner that is willing to spend in order for the whole equation to change.
Johnson claimed that as she enters 2023 planning conversations and how Google plans to spend with its partners, the company’s power and diversity of product areas can act as leverage.
“That’s the time where you have the most leverage to up-level things that you really care about,” she explained.
“‘Hey, by the way, we have a partnership with the WNBA. There’s not enough inventory on TV. What are we doing to do about that, ESPN? How do we make sure that, together, we’re coming in to help solve that?”
The idea of creating stability in women’s sports coverage is critical for building and maintaining an audience of consumers. But, each time women’s sport interest surges, doubts and lack of support cause the trend to stop.
This has inspired Johnson to “build on the tidal wave” in 2023– hoping that mega events such as the 2023 Women’s World Cup are not the only sporting competitions that capture the globe’s attention.
“What I would love to see is just a continuation of last year, which is, in all parts of the globe, this bigger elevation of awareness around these major women’s sporting moments that are happening,” Johnson said.