The Women’s World Cup ended in late August, with Spain coming out victorious for the first time ever. Women were banned from playing football for years in many countries, who were fearful that women’s football would become more popular than men’s following the league’s suspension during World War 1.

Even after women’s leagues were reinstated, some teams lacked training facilities, resources, and support from coaches and officials. However, more girls have been signing up to play in leagues across the world in the past few years as a result of new initiatives and support from players, clubs, and sponsors. 

This year’s World Cup was record-breaking for viewers across the globe. The championship game, Spain vs England, saw more than 12 million viewers on BBC, which is more than the men’s Wimbledon final, which happened in July earlier this year. Specifically in Spain, 5.6 million people watched the final match - making it the highest-ever TV audience in Spain for a women’s football match. China recorded the highest TV audience for a single game at the World Cup with more than 53.9 million viewers watching the China vs England game. Stadium crowds also broke records with more than 1.9 million fans attending at least one game, with the previous record being 1.35 million fans for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. 

Looking at sponsorship, FIFA sold out all of its partnership packages with brands such as Coca-Cola, Adidas, McDonald’s, VISA, and more. Sponsorships from well-known and respected global brands help to showcase the commitment to developing women’s football at all levels. Sponsors come together to support the games but also to work to enhance fan experience to create a memorable event for all involved. Positive fan experiences help to inspire the new generation of fans and young girls looking to get involved in the sport. 

Although sponsorships were fully sold out, they did not pay out as well as they did for the Men’s World Cup in 2022. Sponsorship revenue for the women’s games is estimated to be only $300 million while the men’s sponsors received $1.7 billion. This is only about 18% of sponsorship revenue compared to the men’s games. Brands will need to work to better understand their female audience to increase their reach and influence. Although many female football players have fewer followers than male football players, their engagement rate is much higher, making them more influential in some aspects. Brands should begin to look to star female players for future brand deals as they are able to drive impactful conversations with their followers.

As a result of support from sponsors and clubs, more young girls than ever are signing up to play. A girl’s league in East London almost doubled the number of teams it has in just one season. Although there are thousands more men playing across the world, many believe that the 2023 World Cup will help to inspire more girls to join soccer, strengthening the pipeline for women’s national teams.

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