<iframe src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-P36XLWQ" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Study: 88% of people want to watch more women’s soccer

Wasserman survey showcases potential of the sport for partners, sponsors and brands.

21 October 2021 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Wasserman surveyed 1,749 people across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and Switzerland
  • Agency giant says women’s soccer needs to ‘forge the same relationships’ as the men’s game to help fuel growth
  • Research also shows a 16% increase in female fans actively playing the sport

A new study from agency giant Wasserman has revealed that 88 per cent of people would watch more women’s soccer if there were greater opportunities to do so.

Conducted in collaboration with the Impulse Network, a student initiative at the University of St Gallen, Wasserman’s ‘The Collective Think Tank’ surveyed 1,749 people across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and Switzerland to produce the study.

Wasserman’s research suggested that women’s soccer needs to forge the same relationships that are present in the men’s game, if it wants to drive the grassroots and professional ecosystem forward. The Collective Think Tank found that female fans playing the sport are more likely to consume soccer content (64 per cent) compared to female fans who rarely play (six per cent).

Positively in that regard, female grassroots participation is trending in the right direction, as the study showed a 16 per cent increase in female fans actively playing the game during the pandemic. Of women who weren’t usually interested in soccer, 19 per cent actually played more during Covid-19, according to the study. Comparatively, there was only a 15 per cent increase in male fans playing the game.

However, Wasserman’s findings also showed that female players are dropping out of soccer at key points, with the most common reasons cited for leaving the game behind being school and work commitments (48 per cent), and health reasons (22 per cent). Additionally, 41 per cent of leisure players find themselves the only woman on their team.

Wasserman said the results showcased the potential of the sport for partners, sponsors and brands ‘to tap into a commercially valuable market’ which would ‘benefit the game as a whole’.

“We’ve known about the potential in women’s football for some time,” said Anna Afolabi, co-author and integrated strategist at Wasserman.

“This research, while it highlights the challenges the sport faces, also shows that there are so many opportunities for growth. But it is important that brands, sponsors and partners don’t just sit and wait for this interest to increase further. Instead, they should be seen as enablers.”

Ebru Koksal of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), and chair of Women in Football, added: “When women stop playing football, they often stop watching football too. We need to remove the barriers to their participation in order to stop women drifting away from the game all altogether.”

Regarding opportunities to watch women’s soccer, a number of landmark broadcast deals have been struck this year which are aiming to grow the game’s reach. English soccer’s top tier Women’s Super League (WSL) is currently in the first season of its three-year deal with the BBC and Sky Sports, which has seen the competition post strong viewing figures. In September, the Telegraph reported that the WSL match between Everton and Manchester City pulled in a peak audience of 800,000 viewers on BBC One, making it the most-watched women’s club soccer match on UK television.

Additionally, DAZN’s rights contract for the Uefa Women’s Champions League includes a distribution partnership with YouTube that ensures games from the elite European women’s club soccer tournament are available live and for free to users globally.

1 / 2news articles read

Enjoying SportsPro content? Create your account and get enhanced access to all the latest stories.


Already have an account?