FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: Played by women, watched more by men
August 14th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: Played by women, watched more by men

A YouGov poll finds that a fifth of consumers in six participant markets have been following the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 either very closely or fairly closely (21%). Another quarter of consumers in these markets – USA, UK, Australia, Germany, France, and Canada – said they were following the event, but not very closely (26%). This signals that at least half of all consumers have had an eye on the action from Down Under.

The host nation leads the charge with three-tenths of all Aussies saying they were following the tournament (29%) closely. No surprise given how locals have flocked to the stands both for matches featuring the Aussie team – the Matildas – as well as those of other teams. Only two-fifths of Australians (41%) said they weren’t following the event at all – a remarkably low figure in a multi-sport market where football isn’t quite as popular as sports such as the AFL. According to data from Global Fan Profiles, football is the sixth most popular Australian sport in terms of regular followership.

Americans were among the most likely to say they are following proceedings “very closely” (8%) but was also the market with the highest share of consumers saying they aren’t following at all (61%). Among people in neighboring Canada, only 4% said they were following very closely but 14% indicated that they been keeping fairly close tabs.

For a bit of nuance here, it is important to note that the surveys were run on slightly different dates in each market. In Canada, the responses were collected between July 31 to August 5, by which point the team had been knocked out. That two-fifths of Canadians (42%) were still following in some capacity is a testament to the transcendent appeal of the event. For information on the survey dates in other markets, check the methodology posted below this article.

Over in European markets, a fifth of consumers in each of Britain (20%), Germany (21%) and France (19%) said they were following the event closely.

It is worth noting that in each of these six markets, those aged 18-34 were as likely or more likely than the average population there to be following the tournament closely. This effect was particularly noticeable in the US, where three-tenths of those aged 18-34 said they were following either “very closely” or “fairly closely”. Among consumers in this age group, the following for the event was only matched by Australians (30%). In Canada (23% vs 19%) and France (23% vs 18%) too there is a marked difference between the share of young consumers following the event closely compared to the overall proportion.

Interestingly, men are markedly more likely to be following the event closely than are women. This pattern is extreme in select markets – French men (29%) are three times as likely as their female counterparts (10%) to be following “very closely” or “somewhat closely”. Even in Britain, where the gap is the smallest in percentage terms, men are a third likelier than women to be following (24% vs 16%). In the US, men are 11 percentage points likelier to be keeping close tabs (25% vs 14%).

In Canada (25% vs 11%) and Germany (28% vs 14%), men are at least twice as likely to be soaking up the action, and that is almost also the case in Australia too (38% vs 21%).

This gap perhaps represents an opportunity for organizers to still grow what is already a strong overall fan base.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in six markets with sample sizes varying between 1,005 and 2,223 for each market. The surveys were conducted on the following dates for each market - USA (Jul 28 to Jul 31), UK (Jul 31 to Aug 1), Germany (Jul 28 to Aug 1), France (Jul 28 to Aug 1), Australia (Aug 3 to Aug 6), Canada (Jul 31 to Aug 5). Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.