How Can Broadcasters Capitalise on the Growth of Women’s Football?

Women’s football is growing at an incredible pace. What can you do to engage with this growing audience? Learn about engagement strategies and more here.

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Women’s professional football has been around a lot longer than many modern fans know. In fact, it’s been part of the UK broadcasting schedule since as far back as 1989. But it’s in the past decade that it’s really taken off and had its moments in the spotlight, from lighting up the 2012 Olympics, to the historic World Cup bronze medal in 2015 for England and to finally being given a regular slot in 2021 when the WSL was given its own broadcast deal, separate to the men’s game. The time has come to start engaging with a rapidly growing audience of a sport that now forms a critical part of broadcasting, with a socially active and wide-reaching fan base.

As a broadcaster, what are the statistics you need to know, and how can you grow/make the most out of your audience? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about women’s football audience engagement, including key strategies you can use to drive your audience growth.

How much has the women’s game grown?

The 2022 Women’s European Championship is set to light up the sporting world this summer. With the rise of the women’s game in recent years becoming a regular conversation on social media and in households, it’s no surprise that broadcasters and content producers have embraced this movement and are looking for ways to get on board.

Record levels of interest were shown at the 2017 Euros, with the championships becoming the most watched women’s tournament in history.

The total TV audience surpassed 2013’s by more than 50 million, with video content across social media platforms registering over 5.6 million views.

Social media plays a large role in increasing visibility and creating awareness around women’s football. Looking back on the European Championship in 2017, the official @UEFAWomensEURO accounts reached a total of 426,000 impressions across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – this contributed to a total social media interaction of more than 20 million.

It’s not just the international occasions being talked about, either. The Barclays FA Women’s Super League received 60 million Twitter impressions from Sky Sports WSL content alone. Nielsen Sports global leader of women’s sport and head of brands states, “Fans of women’s football are open to engaging with brands, and with higher audiences and growing social media profiles there is a unique opportunity to invest in and activate around the WSL.”

As broadcasters, you have the ability to influence the conversation – 44% of fans feel the women’s game doesn’t appear on their social timelines enough. Take advantage of this and engage with fans by sharing fun content and creating an interesting narrative around the game.

Broadcast buying into women’s football is on the rise, with major media deals occurring across the globe. Not only are TV broadcasters like the BBC and Sky Sports recognising space for the sport by broadcasting the Women’s Super League, but streaming services like DAZN, Twitch, TikTok and the FA Player are joining the space to stream content from the Women’s Super League to the Champions League and the NWSL.

The Lionesses have been given a home for all their international friendlies and qualifiers after ITV signed a four year deal to contribute “to drive the reach and profile of the Women’s senior team”. Over 50 global TV broadcasters have bought into the 2022 European Championships.

That leaves us with one crucial question – who is your audience? Versus discovered 98% of women’s football fans were aged between 14 and 34 and it was picked up in 2019 that 62% of women’s football fans follow the game through the internet.

Viewership of the women’s game throughout the UK is dominated by women (76%) but is driven by men (64% vs 36% female viewers).

Now that you’re armed with the statistics, what should you do next?

How can broadcasters tap into this data?

With women’s football enjoying such substantial growth, it’s time for broadcasters to capitalise on the game’s growing audience.

So, what strategies should you be using in order to grow your women’s football audience?

Be creative

Women’s football fans are passionate about the sport. This provides the perfect opportunity for you to get creative with your social channels:

  • Broadcast the game
  • Curate clips from fan suggestions
  • Open discussions about players/opportunities

By being creative, you’re able to turn the fans’ passion into tangible growth for your social platforms & live broadcasts.

Use designated hashtags

Hashtags can be powerful tools, if used correctly. Each domestic league and international tournament have their own designated hashtag, so make sure to find out which ones are relevant to your broadcast.

The core demographic of fans sits between 14 and 34. Many of this audience are already familiar with social media, which presents a unique opportunity for you to take advantage of this conversation and form a narrative around pundits & fan views.

Designated hashtags have the power to drive new viewers to your broadcast, as they will create exposure to followers and friends, vastly improving your content’s reach.

Feature fans’ opinions in your broadcasts

By using real-time engagement tools, you’re able to feature and interact with fans directly on broadcast, displaying their comment & creating a conversation around it.

In doing so, you’re encouraging others to interact with you, as they don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to be featured directly on the broadcast.

More interaction means more people hearing about your content. More people hearing about your content means more people tuning in to see what the fuss is all about – an excellent way to grow your audience & make fans feel valued!

Gamify your audience engagement

Gamification is the process of making your audience engagement strategy into a game (clue’s in the name!).

This might come in the form of polls, video challenges, score predictions and much more. By creating a fun, unique way to interact with your audience, you’re able to drive significantly higher levels of engagement, all the while helping your content to stand out from the crowd.

As mentioned, women’s football fans are incredibly passionate about the sport, so many of them will jump at the opportunity to predict a score or enter into a prize draw!

Feature relevant calls to action using QR codes

Once you’ve captured your audience, it’s time to gently encourage them to take your desired action.

An on-brand URL or QR code is an excellent way to provide a seamless entry to your landing pages. These can be featured directly on your broadcast, on social adverts or on physical billboards.

You may want these calls to action to direct people to:

  • Your polls/games
  • Feedback forms
  • Subscription landing pages
  • Essentially anything you can think of!

Reimagine your live content with Dizplai

Creating new experiences in your women’s football broadcast will increase your visibility, improve viewer loyalty and improve tune in across the board.

Engagement = audience growth. There’s huge opportunities in the rapidly growing women’s football world; the broadcasters who capitalise on this early will reap the long-term rewards.

At Dizplai, we help sports broadcasters across the world to grow their audience by implementing unique engagement tools, social data, graphics and more.

We’re ready to transform the broadcasting in the women’s game, are you?

If you’ve got any questions, or would like some more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team of specialists today.

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The Author

Hey, I’m Becky! Most of the time I’m Dizplai’s Digital Marketing Coordinator, but sometimes I am the owner of a Manchester City Women aggregator account across several social platforms.

Yes, that’s right I am an avid Manchester City supporter, for both the men and women’s teams. When I look at how the women’s game has developed at Manchester City from 2013 to now, I have seen the team go from playing at the Regional Athletics Track alongside the Etihad to holding near sellout crowds at their own stadium opposite the Etihad.

Women’s football came into my life in 2012, watching Team GB fighting it out at Wembley stadium and Steph Houghton being the country’s leading scorer (as a fullback).

Why did it take until 2012 to become fully invested in women’s football? It was finally broadcasted on TV, which allowed me to become fully immersed into what the future could hold for women in sport; it was the first step into the next stage of women’s football.

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