Women’s football has seen increasing levels of exposure and record-breaking attendances, according to the latest report from Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW).
In a 50-page report launched on 29 May, it looks at the current state of the women’s game as well as what the future has to hold. Many of the game’s top players have contributed to the report, including Tessa Wullaert, Eniola Aluko and Eugénie Le Sommer.
Tomorrow, BCW launches #WorldAtHerFeet, a report examining the future of women’s football. The launch will take place in London, but the report will be available to all – featuring stars from on and off the pitch, keep an eye out for it! #Football #FIFAWWC #WePlayStrong pic.twitter.com/p06wTE3hJc— BCW Global (@BCWGlobal) May 28, 2019
The insightful report lists a number of key findings from their research, showing how much women’s football has positively changed over the years. However, they also recognised that there is still work to be done, stating what steps need to be taken to further improve.
They found that women’s football is more popular than ever, with 26 million women in 180 countries now playing football according to FIFA. With the Women’s World Cup fast approaching, interest in the women’s game is on the rise.
Overall attendances are also rapidly increasing, with this summer’s World Cup expected to reach an estimated billion total viewers. There have been record attendances in Spain, Italy and Mexico, as well as a huge increase in ticket sales for the World Cup and Champions League.
However, the report shows that gate receipts in national domestic leagues are still not high enough for clubs to be self-sustainable, a devastating truth that was proven by Women’s Super League side Yeovil Town Ladies’ filing for administration.
The increased popularity of the game has led to a wider share of media coverage, although women’s sports continue to receive fewer than 10% of overall sports coverage. While overall attitudes are improving, examples of sexism and bias are still evident.
One of the key issues in the women’s game has always been a pay gap with the men’s game, and the report finds that this remains a problem. 90% of female professional players say that financial, family or career reasons may force them to end their careers prematurely.
The issue of salaries doesn’t just affect the players, with female referees also earning considerably less than their male counterparts at major tournaments. However, BCW believe that better financial support for players will help avoid wasting potential talent.
While overall the women’s game is undergoing fantastic development, there still exist key problems that could stunt any further development. Nevertheless, BCW’s report highlights what can be done to help this, as well as discussing the bright future of women’s football.
The #WorldAtHerFeet report was unveiled by BCW at a debate in London on 29 May, with football stakeholders and media present for the presentation of the findings.