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City and Copa90 launch women's football research

UP FOR THE CUP: Skipper Steph Houghton hoists the FA Cup aloft

UP FOR THE CUP: Skipper Steph Houghton hoists the FA Cup aloft

Manchester City and COPA 90 have partnered to undertake a global research project and publish a report on current and prospective audiences for women’s football, with a focus on fans between the age of 16 and 24 - the emerging generation of football consumers.

The report follows the launch of Manchester City’s ‘Same City Same Passion’ campaign in 2018 – created to demonstrate that football’s values and principles are the same – and aims to deepen the understanding of who the women’s football audience is, in recognition of the breadth and diversity of the women’s football fan base of today.

The ‘Women’s Football Audience Report’ focuses on five key areas of exploration to identify the similarities and differences in the behaviours, emotions and attitudes of current and prospective women’s football fans across the world, and will be used by both organisations to support their continued commitment to grow and develop the women’s game.

To conduct the report, Manchester City and COPA90’s research and insights teams collaborated to share knowledge and develop an in-depth research strategy using quantitative and qualitative data.

A pool of 750 current and prospective fans from three markets – UK, US and China – were surveyed for the quantitative study.

These numbers were subsequently complemented by qualitative research, which included two focus groups in each market (one of current fans, one of prospective fans), as well as a series of 1-2-1 interviews with key stakeholders, including players, journalists and influencers.

The areas of exploration, which are published in the ‘Women’s Football Audience Report’, have identified the following core findings:

1. Exposure, and not playing the game, is the driver of growth.

2. Fandom is a shared crusade, creating a community that is elevated by access to the stars of the game.

3. Fans have a strong desire to engage with like-minded fans and discuss women’s football, rather than defend it from criticism.

4. Fans’ relationship with the women’s game is positive, but with room to improve.

5. The Women’s World Cup will be this summer’s uniter and a tipping point for the women’s game.

In addition to developing a deeper understanding of who the current and prospective women’s football audience is, the core findings of the report also provide prospective commercial partners with insights into the most effective methods to reach that audience.

Commenting on the report, Manchester City’s Chief Marketing Officer, Nuria Tarre said: “The popularity of women’s football is skyrocketing with record breaking crowds, broadcast viewing numbers and investments being regularly announced.

"However, growth comes in ebbs and flows and the need for consistency remains a key challenge for those on a domestic level.

"This research will help us better understand how to captivate and engage with both existing and new audiences, and translate support for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup to the domestic league year-round.

"Importantly, it will also provide a clearer sense of what the drivers of change are, to support the growth of the women’s game over the long-term.”

The report can be downloaded by visiting: copa90.media/the-womens-football-audience

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