6.9m people tuned in to watch England women triumph in difficult circumstances in their latest World Cup match and until Benitez ended his contract with Newcastle the game was all that trended on twitter.
Somewhat interesting timing given the release of a joint piece of research between Copa90 and Manchester City into the current and prospective audience of Women's football and what can and will affect it's growth.
Most interestingly were their 5 main findings. At number one they discovered it's exposure, not playing the game, that drives audience growth. With the games accessible to all on BBC1 and open conversation and debate rife through #Lionesses, exposure to the average football fan has grown astronomically in the last 3 weeks?
Many clubs are seeing the value in the potential of increased exposure too, including Man City themselves who recently merged their Male and Female team social channels. But speaking to Marketing Week, Nuria Tarre stated it isn't access or marketing alone that will grow the game; though with a perfect storm of mass interest and great campaigns they could do just that.
With social media content playing a great part in this World Cup, we've noticed an increase of candidates both male and female citing an interest in women's sport and wanting to be a part of the conversation. The scale of the sport is only going one way, and with a win for England, it could sky rocket!
1. Exposure, and not playing the game, is the driver of growth. 2. Fandom is a shared crusade, creating a community that is elevated by access to the stars of the game. 3. Fans have a strong desire to engage with like-minded fans and discuss women’s football, rather than defend it from criticism. 4. Fans’ relationship with the women’s game is positive, but with room to improve. 5. The Women’s World Cup will be this summer’s uniter and a tipping point for the women’s game.