A profile of USWNT fans and how they compare to fans of the USMNT
July 18th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

A profile of USWNT fans and how they compare to fans of the USMNT

As the U.S. Women’s National Team prepare to launch their title defence at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, we dive into YouGov data to understand the scale of the team’s fan following. Not only are the U.S. Women’s National Team defending champions, but they are also the record holder for the most titles won at the pinnacle event, having lifted the trophy four times. Ahead of the event they are also placed at No.1 in the FIFA Women’s Rankings.

So where does the team find itself in the national consciousness of the American public? YouGov SportIndex, which gathers data on a host of sporting properties, allows us to take stock. Buzz for the USWNT stands at 5.4 as of July 12, almost identical to the Buzz score for the USMNT (5.5). One would expect the Buzz for the Becky Sauerbrunn-led team to soar once the tournament actually kicks off.

What’s interesting is that the Buzz score for the Women’s Team closely mirrors that of the Men’s for the majority of the past 12 months, except for the expected boost the men’s team received during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The Buzz metric is a net score measured on the basis of the difference between the share of consumers who say they are hearing positive things about a team and those hearing negative things.

Perhaps more encouragingly, Consideration scores for the Women’s Team also closely rivals that of the Men’s, indicating that an identical share of Americans would consider watching both national soccer teams play. As of July 12, Consideration for the USWNT actually stands 1.2 points higher at 8.0 and is likely to see a rise further once the tournament begins.

So who are these USWNT fans? And how do they compare to supporters of the Men’s Team? Does the similarity in Consideration trends actually mean both sets of fans are very similar demographically and otherwise?

Not necessarily. The first hint that both sets of fans are distinct groups is that only three-tenths of those who watched the Men’s Team in action over the past 12 months say they would consider watching the USWNT (29%) or the FIFA Women’s World Cup (31%).

Demographic analysis of those who have watched either side in the past year shows that USWNT watchers are a slightly older cohort. Over a fifth of them are aged over 65 (22%) compared to 17% of USMNT watchers. Those aged 18-29 form a bigger chunk of the Men’s Team watchers (20% vs 16%).

Men make up the majority of both audiences, albeit a slightly bigger portion of  followers of the Men’s Team. Two-thirds of those who watched the USMNT over the past year are men (67%) and a third are women (33%). The split for the USWNT group shifts slightly to 63% men and 37% women.

YouGov Profiles can go well beyond the boundaries of demographic segmentations to understand audiences more intimately through data collected on various attitudes and consumption behaviors. Looking specifically at the attitudes towards brand communication and advertising, USWNT prefer brands that get involved in social issues. They are seven percentage points likelier than USMNT watchers to say they "like when companies have a moral message” (72% vs 65%) and eight percentage points likelier to say they like “brands that are willing to get involved in social issues” (63% vs 55%).

On the other hand, they are less likely to say they “don’t think brands should express views on political and social issues” (49% vs 59%).

The dataset contains attitudinal insights on other such categories of psychographic data, which can help brands make more effective marketing decisions. Take, for instance, travel. Over two-fifths of USWNT fans say they would usually wait for last minute deals rather than planning a holiday in advance (43%), compared to just over a third of USMNT fans (35%). When it comes to one key differentiator on their views relating to technology, the USWNT audience is far more worried about the potential implications of the Metaverse (71% vs 57%).

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is reported to be one the most – if not the most – well-attended standalone women’s sporting events in history, and passions are running high. Brands can leverage a wealth of YouGov consumer data to make more informed marketing decisions.

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