How Women’s Football Became One of the Fastest-Growing Sports in the UK
The rise of popularity in women’s football in the UK and indeed throughout the rest of the world is something that is becoming hard to ignore.
Though football used to be regarded mainly as a men’s sport, every Premier League club has a women’s football team as well as a men’s football team.
There are two main reasons for this:
Increased TV coverage is one of the main factors that has propelled women’s football to dizzying new heights over the past couple of years.
Ahead of the 2021/22 season, The Football Association announced a three-year deal with Sky Sports and the BBC for the rights to the Women’s Super League. This has been record-breaking. TalkSPORT reports that this deal is worth around £8 million per year.
The participation of women’s football in major tournaments is helping the sport attract more attention. In the football world, England’s victory in the Women’s Euro final in 2022 was a ground-breaking moment for women’s football. The match was very well attended. 87,192 people came to watch this final, the most out of any men’s or women’s Euro’s match on record.
After the 2022/23 season started, the FA Director of the Women’s Professional Game Kelly Simmons reported that the number of fans attending matches across the Women’s Super League has increased by more than 200% year-on-year. As for the Women’s Championship, match attendance is up by 85% year-on-year.
This goes to show how pivotal the Euro’s triumph in 2022 was in getting people excited about women’s football.
What can we expect in the near future?
We can expect this enthusiasm for women’s football to continue. Players become household names after they’ve contributed to a major success such as the England Women’s Euro Final. This helps build a reliable fan base. In turn, this equates to more people going to watch football and more people spreading the word about women’s football.
All eyes will be on England to see how they perform in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the summer.
Another possibility is that the increased attention on women’s sports will fiter down to the school system. Teenage girls often lose their interest in sport and it’s also the case that many schools have a boys’ football team but not a girls’ one. If more schools make football something everyone can get involved with, this can only be a good thing for the future of women’s football more widely.
The increasing popularity of women’s football is a very positive thing. It has the potential to inspire more people to take up the sport for themselves and show the world that football is for everyone, not just for men.