Footballco Report Highlights the Opportunity for the Women’s World Cup to reach Gen-Z fans
A new report from Footballco, entitled ‘Women’s Football Fandom in 2023’ shows that this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup could provide a valuable opportunity for brands and media to reach Gen Z football fans and highlights the unique content preferences and social platform choices of 18-24 year-olds.
‘Women’s Football Fandom in 2023’ is based on surveys of 2,291 fans, male and female, from ten countries with all respondents considering themselves to be followers of women’s football.
The work was carried out by global football content and media company Footballco in collaboration with its women’s football media brand, Indivisa.
Who Are Women’s Football Fans?
‘Women’s Football Fandom in 2023’ highlights a key difference between fans of women’s and men’s football is their level of fandom, with 78 per cent of fans of men’s football identified as ‘Supporters’ or ‘Super Fans’, compared to 52 per cent of fans of women’s football.
As defined in the report, ‘Superfans’ are those who watch as many games as possible, while ‘Supporters’ are those who watch games featuring their team. ‘Casual Fans’ watch the occasional game and in the case of women’s football equates to 48 per cent of the fanbase.
The relative lack of a ‘Superfan’ audience in women’s football can be attributed to the time fans have been engaged. 37 per cent of fans of women’s football have been fans for six years or longer, compared to 72 per cent of fans of men’s football who have been fans for the same period.
With ‘Casuals’ being attracted mostly to big tournaments, this Summer’s World Cup is a significant opportunity for both rights holders and brands looking to reach this growing fanbase and for the continued growth of the sport.
This is backed up in the report by the Women’s World Cup being ranked as the favourite tournament of fans of women’s football, followed by the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the UEFA Women’s Euro.
For brands targeting the coveted Gen Z demographic, the Women’s World Cup provides an even greater opportunity as 58 per cent of female fans aged 18-24 are ‘Supporters’ or ‘Superfans’, a number that drops to 37 per cent with female fans after 45 and over.
While the majority of women’s football fans are also passionate about the men’s game, 12 per cent of Gen Z fans surveyed consider themselves fans of women’s football with only a casual interest in the men’s game.
What Fans Want
Looking at women’s football fans as a single group, the content they want the most includes live games, match highlights and breaking news. But when broken down by age, 18-24 year-olds show a generational difference in media preference, with their top three content types being memes, live games and inspirational stories.
Going outside the top three, fans of women’s football over-index on their interest in non-match content, such as inspirational stories and grassroots football. This is even truer for Gen Z fans, who when compared to fans in other demographic groups over-index on a number of content types that bring them closer to the game, such as inspirational stories (by 18 per cent), nostalgic content (12 per cent), skills tutorials (11 per cent) and grassroots stories (12 per cent).
Morgan Brennan, Head of Indivisa, Footballco’s women’s football media brand said: “What we’re seeing here is the importance of a connection to players for fans of women’s football.
“Brands can and in some cases already are recognising that working with female players should go beyond them holding or endorsing a product, the brand and the content around it should provide a story that fans can relate to and if possible connect to a cause that’s relevant to players and fans.
“This point was demonstrated in the report, with 56 per cent of fans saying that would think more favourably about brands that sponsor their favourite female players, increasing to 76 per cent with Superfans. ”
Where They Consume Content
‘Women’s Football Fandom in 2023’ shows Women’s football fans are most likely to consume social media content on women’s football on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Once again 18-24 year-olds prove to differ from mature fans, with their online social channels of choice for women’s football content being Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
Brennan says: “When it comes to young fans of women’s football, it is clear that what they want and where they want it is different from older fans. This creates great opportunities for brands to activate outside of the matchday window and away from traditional broadcast media.”
‘Women’s Football Fandom in 2023’ is available now and can be downloaded from the Footballco website: https://www.footballco.com/wwc-report