Man City study shows media coverage key to growing women’s football

Next month at Digital Sport London we’ll be asking where women’s football grows from here.

In the last few months, we’ve seen media coverage increase and significant investments into the women’s game have been announced. Yet no one could argue that the sport industry as a whole has done enough to grow the game to its full potential.

We’ll be asking what’s next for women’s football in London Bridge on July 11th, just days after the World Cup final, and when the excitement begins to die down.

Today, Manchester City and Copa90 released their ‘Women’s Football Audience Report’ which surveyed young football fans to ask of their experiences of women’s football, something which could act as a starting point for the way the industry approaches the growth of the game over the (crucial) next few years. The results showed, among other things, that ‘exposure, and not playing the game, is the driver of growth’ among this audience – a finding that feels quite important for sport in general.

Clearly grassroots sport is important for reasons other than growing an audience for elite sport: getting people active is important by itself, and doesn’t need to come with the caveat that we’re trying to get people interested in watching it. Just because i’m a keen runner doesn’t mean I’ll want to watch the London marathon. Conversely, just because I’m interested in the ongoing storylines around Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas’s tussle for control of Team Ineos doesn’t mean I’ll get on a bike anytime soon.

Women’s football has long suffered from a lack of oxygen given publicity, and increased media coverage will lead to a more informed audience and ultimately more fans. When the players have a higher profile, fans will see them as characters and are then more likely to continue to follow their stories.

That’s not to say we should lose sight of grassroots sport and promoting the benefits of playing sport to women and girls. But it is interesting that playing sport as a child or a teen isn’t necessarily what will make you a fan for the rest of your life.

See Twitter, Visa, Endeavor, Engine Sports and the Football Writers’ Association talk about next steps for the women’s football. Where should we be with the game and how do we get there? Join the conversation on July 11th at the offices of Howard Kennedy LLP in Central London. Get your ticket below.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 835 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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