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Britons’ interest in women’s football spikes post-World Cup, research shows

New research carried out by YouGov and financial services company Barclays has found a surge in interest in women’s football after this year’s Fifa Women’s World Cup.

According to the survey, 34 per cent of British adults now consider themselves “interested” in women’s football. 28 per cent of those who watched matches during the Women’s World Cup said it had encouraged them to follow the women’s  game more closely.

With the Women’s Super League season kicking off this weekend, almost half of those surveyed said they were looking forward to the new season, and a third said they were hopeful about the future of women’s football. 

In terms of closing the gap between women’s and men’s football, there is still some distance to go. 31 per cent of those surveyed said they had attended a Premier League match, with just one per cent having been to a WSL fixture. However, 56 per cent told YouGov that they enjoyed watching women’s football as much as men’s, while 69 per cent said they think women’s football deserves the same profile as men’s and 74 per cent said that the women’s game is “underrated”.

Earlier this year Barclays signed a record-breaking deal to become the first-ever title sponsor of the Women’s Super League, with the bank aiming to grow the sport at all levels – from the top-tier professional division to grassroots and school access. Along with YouGov, it will continue to monitor interest levels in the women’s game throughout the course of its three-year partnership.

Speaking exclusively to SportBusiness, Tom Corbett, Barclays’ global head of sponsorships and media, said: “Firstly, we want to change perceptions around the women’s game, because they aren’t where they need to be at the moment, at any level. Secondly, we want to champion the professional game. We want to shine a light on the Women’s Super League for what it is and for the talent that plays on the pitch every day. And, thirdly, we want to increase accessibility for all girls, at all levels, to play football.”

A full-length feature interview with Tom Corbett will be available on SportBusiness later today.