The relationship between the English Premier League and women has been placed firmly in the spotlight with the furore around CEO Richard Scudamore's leaked e-mails. However, football fandom is far from male-dominated, as demonstrated by new sports fan research, commissioned by Advanced Ticketing, which reveals that UK female football fans are as passionate about The Beautiful Game as their male counterparts.
The research, commissioned to help clubs improve fan engagement, was carried out by Sportswise, who polled just under 1,000 fans on its Sports Panel about their interest in sport and engagement at live events.
Twenty-six per cent of men and 23 per cent of women said they attend live matches because they ‘love to support their club’, and there was also little difference between the genders about what is important when attending matches: event atmosphere (97.6 per cent of men and 98.7 per cent of women), ease of obtaining tickets (94.5/98.1), the quality of venue (92.7/94.2) and access to the venue (94.5/97.1).
However, some responses revealed that clubs can engage more effectively with both genders. When looking at the barriers to becoming a season ticket holder, 30 per cent of women stated that expense was their biggest issue, with only 20 per cent of men seeing price as a stumbling block. For men, 22.3 per cent claimed family commitments was an issue, compared to 16 per cent of women. For the female spectator, Wi-Fi access and an ability to engage with social media whilst watching the game was key, whereas for men, it was all about watching the game without distractions.
“It’s great to know that female supporters are on the same side as male fans when it comes to supporting their football clubs. They face the same hurdles but equally share the same passion when it comes to attending matches. The message for clubs is to look carefully at the demographics of their audiences,” said Mark Dewell, managing director of Advanced Ticketing, whose TALENT Sport ticketing solution is used by leading UK sports teams including Leicester Tigers rugby union team, Liverpool football club and Chester Racecourse.
"If women do not constitute a significant proportion of their fan base or are not represented broadly within season ticket holders, there is a strong possibility that clubs are missing out on a significant commercial opportunity.
“With the female supporter reported to be more ‘connected’ during a match there may be an opening for clubs to engage with in-match content and activities which enhance the customer experience and drive further participation and revenue."