Women’s football is transforming right in front of us in the UK. With teams like Romance FC, Goaldiggers and Queerspace at the forefront. Now, with the World Cup in France coming up next summer, Nielsen Sports have quantified just how popular it is (it’s really, really popular).
In a major collaboration with Women’s Sport Trust and England Hockey, Nielsen have found that there is a huge appetite for Women’s Sport in the UK. Today, 59% of the UK population is interested in women’s sport—40% of people would consider attending live women’s sport, 42% would watch more if it was accessible on free TV, and 37% would watch more if it was accessible free online. From that data, Nielsen found that 38% of all football fans in the UK are fans of women’s football, which is loads and loads of people.
Lynsey Douglas, Global Leader for Women’s Sport at Nielsen Sports said: “The commercial opportunity in women’s sport is growing at pace. Audiences are up and there is an increasing interest among the general population in the UK, across a number of sports. All the indicators point to it being a very good time to invest in women’s sport.”
The FA launched their ‘Gameplan for Growth’ scheme just before the Women’s Euros last summer, with the aim to grow participation and create a sustainable and successful high-performance system to ensure England teams compete with distinction on the world stage at every age group. And with a recent UEFA study showing that 58% of teenage girls felt more confident thanks to playing football, the signs are there that it’s really on the rise.
The recent World Cup Qualifier between England and Wales in Southampton attracted over 20,000 spectators. With the return match already sold out, there is a clear indication that people want to watch women’s football. With the BBC having already secured the rights to broadcast the World Cup next year, with 750 million people tuning in to the last final in 2015, next summer will hopefully be the huge turning point that brings women’s football into the mainstream consciousness.