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The difference between fans of men’s football and fans of women’s football

Updated: May 9

If you have visited both women’s and men’s football games, you might have experienced that the fans are different.

But what are these differences exactly?

Let’s dive a little deeper into who the fans of the women’s game are.

Fans of women’s football

There are currently 144 million women’s football fans in Europe. While the majority of these fans were previously interested in men’s football, almost one third (equivalent to 47 million) of the fans had no interest in football at all before they started to follow the women’s game.

According to a report published by UEFA, the fanbase of women’s football is unique. It has a young audience with progressive values. So let’s take a look at the fans of the women’s game:

  • 47% of the fans are female.

  • 30% of the fan base is aged 18-34.

  • They are driven by progressive values like gender equality, LGTBQ+ rights, community and diversity.

But how do they differ from men’s football fans?

The difference in fans between men’s and women’s football

Women’s football has a strong female fanbase

Demographics of football fans champions league
Source: UEFA report 'business case for women's football'

If we look at the study that compares the audience of the women’s champions league and the men’s champions league, we see big differences in the composition of the fan base.

We see that the percentage of female fans is bigger in women’s football than in men’s football.

The fans have different associations between women’s football and men’s football

Vera Hager, projectmanager at the AXA Women’s Super League, says that women’s football is more down to earth, family-oriented and progressive than the men’s game.

Fans associate women’s football with words like entertaining, inspiring, family-friendly and good role models. Fans of the men’s game see football as entertaining and professional, but score lower on the other words that were named to describe the game.

Fans consume football differently

We all know where to watch the men’s football games. No matter which competition you want to follow or watch, you can easily find out how to access it. For women’s football on the other hand, it is not always that easy. The visibility of women’s football in the mainstream media is low.

37% of people that do not follow women’s football blame the lack of media coverage. This is 3.3 times more than when the same question was asked to people who do not follow men’s football.

This is why fans of the women’s game are more likely to use digital or OTT channels to watch the games.

Women’s football fans follow the player first

The fans of women’s football are more likely to follow football because of the players. They see players as good role models and inspirational figures. 33% of women’s football fans state this as a reason to follow women’s football. For the men, this is only 12% of the fans.

Women's football fans are more likely to follow the player
Source: UEFA report 'business case for women's football'

The loyalty of the fans is with the player. 60% of women’s football fans between 18 and 25 years old, would consider to follow a different team if their favourite player decides to move to another club. This is a clearly higher percentage than for the men’s football fans. In their case, only 30% would consider following another club.

Players always have a big influence on their followers. Research shows that women’s football fans are more positive towards brands that sponsor a player, than men’s football fans. They are more likely to engage with, talk about and buy something from the brand.

Women's football fans are more positive towards brands that sponsor a player than men's football fans.
Source: UEFA report 'business case for women's football'

The influence of a player on their fans

The unique fan base of women’s football creates opportunities for athletes. As stated before, athletes have a big influence on their fans.

Players can use this influence to make statements, to set an example and to make a difference.

To do so, you need a strong personal brand.

And in order to build a strong personal brand, you need to know your audience and how to resonate with them. Therefore it is good to know that the fans in women’s football have different needs than fans of men’s football. They might be interested in different content, a different tone of voice and expect different things from female players than what male players are doing.

Do you want to use your brand to influence people in a positive way?

But do you feel you miss the knowledge to do so?

Get in touch with us to see how we can help you!

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