Women's sport set to ride a tidal wave of success with three World Cups in three years

With New Zealand set to host three World Cups in the next three years, the opportunity for women's sport to prosper is immense.

But for all the benefits of hosting the rugby, cricket and football World Cups, the progress can't stop there, as New Zealand faces maybe its greatest ever opportunity to grow women's sport.

Eden Park - New Zealand's national stadium - was the scheduled venue that women's  Rugby World Cup 2021 was meant to kick off in September.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed that back a year, but the opportunity presented to women's rugby remains, and for Black Ferns vice-captain Kendra Cocksedge, she's all too aware of the enormity of a home world cup

"I never really got that opportunity [in the past], we didn't even really get to watch the games on TV, let alone play a world cup on home soil," Cocksedge says.

New Zealand's run of women's World Cups was due to start in September with the rugby edition.

But it has now been pushed back to October 2022, meaning the women's Cricket World Cup will be the first to begin in March next year.

The Rugby World Cup then follows, with the women's Football World Cup to kick off in July 2023.

"I've never really heard of that before with three world cups in three years, so what a time to be a female athlete," says White Ferns captain Sophie Devine.

But it's what comes next that administrators see as the bigger challenge.

"How do we optimise these three world cups in terms of changing the way people value women's sport, how visible it is and really making a positive change for young girls coming through," asks Women in Sport Aotearoa Secretary General, Rachel Froggot.

Sport New Zealand CEO Raelene Castle says the upcoming events will likely see a surge in participation, and sporting organisations need to be ready.

"Historically we've seen that when you see cricket, lots of girls wanna play cricket, when you see rugby lots of young girls wanna play rugby and likewise with football, so making sure the NSO's [National Sports Organisation] have the systems to deal with the uptake in demand," Castle says. 

Regardless, women's sport is in a strong position with the next three years to ride the wave of success.