July 28, 2023
New survey insights from LoopMe, a technology company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to improve brand advertising performance, reveals nearly half (44 per cent) of UK consumers plan to, or might, watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year. This is more than those planning to watch in Singapore (42 %), and far higher than those who will watch in the US (25 per cent). However, more than half (54 %) of those living in host nations, Australia and New Zealand, said they’re likely to tune in.
With only 20 per cent of consumers across these four markets saying that they’d watched the tournament in previous years, there’s clearly growing interest in the sport. This is particularly true in the UK, where there’s a 63 % increase in those planning to watch this year vs in previous years.
But, despite blatant demand from consumers to watch, broadcasters were hesitant to purchase the rights to televise the event, with FIFA threatening a blackout because of the number of low offers made. Although the BBC and ITV clinched a late rights deal, the implication that women’s football is still not respected is clear. Of the Brits surveyed, a third (36 per cent) believe enhanced coverage on sports platforms and increased broadcasting on mainstream TV channels is needed to encourage more engagement with women’s sport. Across the global markets, this jumps to 43 %.
“It was disappointing to see the initial lack of enthusiasm on the part of broadcasters when it came to airing the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” comments Sarah Rew, AVP Marketing at LoopMe. “The data – and record-breaking attendances in both host countries – demonstrates the ever-increasing interest in women’s sporting events, so it’s important media companies are able to meet this consumer demand, and the opportunities that come with them. As these events continue to gain traction, there’s hope that the commercial growth of women’s sports will also accelerate.”