Manchester City has teamed up with COPA90 to publish an international research study designed to deepen the understanding of current and prospective audiences for women’s football.
The study focused on fans between the ages of 16 and 24 and discusses five key areas of exploration to identify the similarities and differences in the behaviours, emotions and attitudes of current and prospective women’s football fans.
A pool of 750 current and prospective fans from the UK, US and China were pooled for the quantitative study, with these numbers having been complemented by qualitative research, which included two focus groups in each market. One-to-one interviews with key stakeholders such as players, journalists and influencers were also carried out.
The areas of exploration identified that exposure, and not playing the game, is driving growth in women’s football. The report also found that fandom is a “shared crusade” that creates a community that is elevated by access to the stars of the game.
The third finding of the report states that fans have a strong desire to engage with like-minded supporters and discuss women’s football rather than defend it from criticism. The report also found that fans’ relationship with the women’s game is positive but has room to improve, with the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup in France becoming a “tipping point” for the game.
The report also provides potential commercial partners with insights into effective methods to reach prospective and current audiences.
Nuria Tarre, Chief Marketing Officer at Manchester City, said: “The popularity of women’s football is skyrocketing with record breaking crowds, broadcast viewing numbers and investments being regularly announced.
“However, growth comes in ebbs and flows and the need for consistency remains a key challenge for those on a domestic level.
“This research will help us better understand how to captivate and engage with both existing and new audiences, and translate support for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup to the domestic league year-round. Importantly, it will also provide a clearer sense of what the drivers of change are, to support the growth of the women’s game over the long term.”