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Record-breaking numbers in women’s sports streaming

Every England football fan will most likely retain vivid memories of Kelly’s last-minute goal against Germany in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final match, which saw the Lionesses bring home the desired trophy. This was the first time England, as a national team, won this European Championship, which was deemed a great success.

However, England’s women’s football has been beating records already since 2019, when they reached the semifinals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. This match, broadcast by the BBC, set the highest TV audience of the year 2019 in the UK, as it attracted 11.7 million viewers.

Dedicated Streaming Platforms

There is no doubt that in the last few years, the interest in streaming women’s football competitions has increased and professional players’ names are becoming as popular as their male counterparts. Searches for Chloe Kelly, scorer at the Euro final, peaked after the match, reaching almost a 100% popularity score on Google. Similarly, her teammates Leah Williamson, Mary Earps and Ella Toone were trending topics in the search engine.

The Football Association was very quick to capitalise on this renewed interest, which was forecast to grow exponentially, by launching their own streaming platform dedicated to broadcasting women’s football matches that weren’t aired by any of the mainstream channels, like BBC or Sky Sport. The FA platform, which offers unprecedented access to women’s football matches, was presented in the 2019-2020 season and included all 150 live matches from the Barclays FA Women’s Super League as well as highlights from other competitions, and special coverage for the national team.

Women’s sport: record-breaking streak

The last Women’s Euro has had an incredibly positive impact, not only in football but in other sports as well. The audience for women’s sports is increasing exponentially, especially amongst younger audiences that had never before watched any sport on TV.

According to Women’s Sport Trust’s data, women’s sports have attracted 15.8 million new viewers in 2022, and whilst a majority reported tuning in for the grand final, 46% said their sport of choice was female cricket. Women’s Super League saw an increase of 1.5 million viewers in comparison with their audience during the 2021/2022 season.

Away from football, boxing saw sky-rocketing figures. The fight between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall attracted a record 2 million viewers, 38% of them female, which makes it the most-watched women’s boxing event in history and the biggest audience broadcast for women’s sport on Sky TV.

All this data seems to suggest that if women’s sports were given more coverage and accessibility, the audience would be likely to respond. Whilst consumer behaviour is indeed changing and younger generations prefer online platforms to traditional TV channels, this only implies that new technologies will be able to reach yet a wider audience.

The Lionesses are already looking at their next encounters in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, hosted in Australia and New Zealand. In the group stage, they will face Denmark, China and a third opponent to be decided between Senegal, Haiti or Chile. Their opening match will take place on 22nd February at Brisbane Stadium. Looking at the most recent figures, England’s women could probably break yet another audience record.