Dubai – upon the fourth Women’s World Cup title win by the United States (credited with the great awakening to women’s football) the footballing nations have finally woken up to the concept of the female football player. Many people were already well aware of this phenomenon, but it took a global demonstration to break down the final resistance. Today we know that over a billion people followed the World Cup in France, and that it has definitely opened the eyes of Italy, who have won 4 titles in the men’s version. Millions of girls have rewarded this sport with their dedication in America, while millions of young people are now happy to take the players as role models, all over the planet.
We have known for a long time that at the level of fan support, cheering for the women’s game had already exceeded that of the men’s, which is why the only truly global sport should have invested more, and much earlier, based on the reality of the numbers, looking at the commercial interests even before the technical issues.
Today the women bring class and technique to football, aspects that are superior to the physicality that is threatening to destroy the men’s game. Along with quality in the game, money is coming on to the scene, because television has chosen to pursue the potential audiences. The top women’s events are contested when the lads are not playing, so they are free from competition, and ready to supply passion to conquer any withdrawal symptoms spectators might be experiencing. The big clubs have equipped themselves or are in the process of doing so; soon we will have the major leagues follow suit, thus transforming amateurism into real professionalism.
Dubai has not remained in the dark about this development and is updating its endeavors. If Infantino is financing the discipline, Globe Soccer is recognizing its level and its relevance, by dedicating an entire category of awards – Best Women’s Player of the Year – and even giving an arena to women among the candidates for Best Club of the Year and Best Referee of the Year. They are the real big news of 2019 and the Emirates are waiting to give them a well-deserved party.
Audience, social media and sponsors: the rise of women’s football at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France
After the great success achieved at the 2019 World Cup in France, and considering the remarkable and sudden rise that women’s football has had in the last few years, Globe Soccer returns to talk about this sport, aiming to find out what changes it has confronted in recent months, and to better investigate the dynamics from both a sporting and a media point of view.
Technique, determination and a beautiful game: these are the ingredients of the Women’s World Cup
The President of FIFA Gianni Infantino has called it “the absolute best World Cup” in terms of visibility and impact on the public. A World Cup that undoubtedly surpassed the most optimistic expectations, considering the interest shown by the public for this competition during this recent edition in comparison with the level shown in 2015.
And a success of this magnitude is due above all to the beauty of the game witnessed on the field, a game construed out of technique, passion and the high quality of the players, factors that until recently had been overlooked, due to a belief shared by many that the game of football could only ever be a “man’s sport”.
However, these girls, champions displaying the utmost technical excellence, have ultimately given us a wonderful lesson in football and in life, demonstrating that football really is for everyone, a sport capable of uniting people, strengthening relationships and breaking down barriers.
The Women’s World Cup on TV and on Social Media
The great success of the last edition of the Women’s World Cup is also inextricably linked to the choice of some of the major world TV stations to focus on this tournament: in the USA it was Fox that took it on, in Italy it was Rai, in France, Tf1 and in Brazil Rede Globo.
Official figures confirm a total audience of 1.12 billion viewers on TV or on digital platforms, with an increase of 30% compared to the Canadian edition, which reached 764 million television viewers.
Here are the first five games of the Women’s World Cup by average number of live spectators:
|Match||Stage of the Tournament||Average number of live spectators|
|1||United States vs The Netherlands||Final||82.18 million|
|2||France vs Brazil||Round of 16||60.67 million|
|3||England vs United States||Semi final||43.16 million|
|4||Italy vs Brazil||Group C||42.33 million|
|5||France vs United States||Quarter final||35.78 million|
The event also had great resonance on social media, becoming the most commented on together with the America’s Cup, with 481.5 million people who had access to digital content linked to the Women’s World Cup.
Not just sports, also sponsors
Also from a commercial point of view, women’s football is enjoying a huge rise in popularity at the moment. The focus on this sport was not only by the general public, but also by partners and sponsors, enticed by the potential of football in pink to be able to conquer a new slice of the market.
There were giants like Adidas interested in the market – during the 2019 World Cup they guaranteed the same rewards to female athletes under contract as they did to their male counterparts. Nike has decided to enter into a contract with UEFA up until 2021; then there is Barclays, who announced a sponsorship of 10 million pounds sterling in the highest English league last May. Similarly, Visa entered the world of women’s football by becoming official sponsor of the French World Cup, and Budweiser became the official beer of the American women’s soccer championship.
So big names have already started to bet heavily on women’s football, investing in millions of dollars worth of communication plans linked to their teams and competitions in pink.
There is another important point – the unpacking of commercial agreements with the sponsors by the clubs that have decided to also invest in women’s football, a way to ensure that the men’s and women’s teams have different sponsors in order to guarantee a greater economic availability for women’s football that is not necessarily linked to its male counterpart.
This marks a big step forward in beginning to make women’s football finally independent and to letting it walk on its own feet: the path is still a long one but all the conditions are already in place to keep it upwardly mobile.