New research from The FA Women’s Super League (The FA WSL) shows 95 percent of the British public believe that female football players are leading the way in being positive role models for teenage girls.
According to the survey, which explores public perceptions of women’s football both pre and post-Olympics, there has been a huge increase in awareness of the sport with 78 per cent of the 1,000 people surveyed saying they are excited about the game. With the WSL season re-commencing this week, the league and players are urging fans to continue their support for women’s football and get behind the #BeInspired campaign.
Steph Houghton, Team GB female football Olympian commented: “The Olympics provided a global platform to showcase women’s football and interest in the game is now at all at time high.
“We’re proud to be part of the #BeInspired campaign. Whether you’re a player, coach, or spectator it’s all about being inspired and supporting women’s football.”
The research also found that almost 70 per cent of the people surveyed would consider going to watch a live women’s game – an increase of 15 per cent since the performances of Team GB Women at London 2012. The Olympic buzz has also led to a 43 per cent rise in people who said would be more likely to participate in the sport.
Reaching unprecedented levels of interest during the Olympics, records were smashed for crowd participation, with an incredible 70,584 audience watching the women’s team triumph over Brazil at Wembley, the largest crowd to watch a women’s game in this country since 1920. The Olympic Final between USA v Japan at Wembley broke even more records with an attendance of over 80,000 – the second largest crowd of all time for a women’s football match. A record TV audience also peaked at 3.9 million on BBC 3 and BBC Olympic 4.
Since the Olympics, Twitter results have shown an enormous increase in player awareness. Players from The FA WSL have gained between 6,000 – 8,000 new followers, building on The FA WSL’s pledge to drive interactivity throughout the league. Earlier this year women’s football became the first UK sport to have Twitter armbands worn by digital ambassadors.
Kelly Simmons, The FA’s Head of the National Game, commented: “These results show what an amazing legacy the Olympics has created for women’s football. With the upcoming Premier League season and football on everyone’s minds, it will be great to see if the public and media continue to support our women’s football Olympians as they return to their local WSL clubs.
“The league kicks-off this week and it is vital we use the platform London 2012 gave us to grow and develop the game here and keep all our new and existing fans.
“We want to make sure that we build on the Olympic momentum to secure ongoing passion and interest in women’s sport – from the grassroots, upwards. The research shows that nearly one in two people were so inspired by the Olympics that they were more likely to play football themselves, which is a great measure of how popular our Olympian Team GB women were. We want to encourage everyone to #BeInspired by the Olympics and keep supporting women’s football and our wonderful role models that play the game.”
The Women’s Sports Magazine