Angel City Football Club celebrate at the Banc of California Stadium MEG OLIPHANT / GETTY IMAGES
Soccer is a mighty sport that can change the players' lives. For years, women's soccer has not had the same cultural, social and economic impact as men's soccer, but fortunately, this trend is turning around. Women's soccer is on the rise!
This shift in the soccer world is welcome and long overdue. These changes are affecting not only the professional landscape but are also having a profound effect on the participation levels of girls in soccer and public excitement about the potential of women's soccer.
Women’s Soccer: Making a Powerful Impact
Across the board, women’s soccer is breaking records and growing in popularity, which is an impressive feat, considering soccer is the most popular sport in the world. As the popularity and exposure of women’s soccer increases, more young girls see and get excited about the sport. This leads to higher levels of participation at young ages, which in turn leads to more competition and talent, resulting in better players and a more interesting and dynamic game.
So, how do we know that women’s soccer is on the rising?
Women’s soccer viewership has been breaking records for years now. The 2019 Women’s World Cup was seen by 1.12 billion viewers, according to FIFA. This is a staggering number! That is a far cry from the 3,000 people who came to watch the Women’s World Cup semi-finals between US and Norway in 1995. The National Women’s Soccer League (NSWL) also broke viewership records in 2020, with increases as high as 300%! More recently, just 2 months ago, the Women’s Championship League Semi-Final saw a record-breaking 91, 648 fans in the stands to watch Barcelona dominate their match against Wolfsburg, which ended with a score of 5-1. Those are staggering numbers that beat their own previous highest attendance records!
Participation in women’s soccer is at an all-time high in many countries worldwide. There were over 2.6 million active women’s soccer players in the UK in 2019. That represents a 350,000 player increase from the previous year. This type of growth is seen in the US, Canada, and other countries around the world! On a professional level, top-tier athletes from the US are transferring to and playing in other national leagues as opposed to playing in the US. This increases the level of international exposure for these players and leads to the spreading of the soccer talent pool internationally. This exchange led to the landmark moment this May when Catarina Macario became the first USWNT player to score in a Championship League Final!
Fair and equal pay for men and women has been a point of contention for years, but there have been large strides forward in this particular area in the last few years. The US Soccer Federation became the first agency to promise that both sexes would receive equal pay for their time on the pitch, paving the way for other countries and leagues to do the same.
Excitement and Corporate Sponsorships
According to a study by Wasserman, a large marketing agency in the UK, 88% of people want to see more women’s soccer if there are more opportunities. These numbers are well known by brands and corporate sponsorship agencies which look to drive engagement and growth. So they must see Women’s soccer as a legit sport, driving considerable opportunities to engage with an audience that has never been approached before. Exciting opportunities for brands and clubs to collaborate abound and are likely to continue as the audience demand grows.
Women’s Soccer is Just Getting Started…
The potential for women’s soccer is just beginning to be developed. With women’s soccer on the rise, expect to see more, and more high-quality, corporately sponsored, and high-profile female soccer athletes. As it has been said, the tide raises all ships and it looks like high tide is coming for women’s soccer. And as we said it and will continue to say, “MORE WOMEN ARE NEEDED IN THE BUSINESS SIDE OF IT IF WE WANT TO GROW IT.”
Upright City is dedicated to the growth and development of soccer and is ready to help the rising tide of women’s soccer.