The survey of 1,000 UK football fans commissioned by Imagineear, specialists in media and technology for visitor experiences, showed that 60% of English club football supporters intend to watch the Lionesses play in the World Cup, which takes place in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20, with an even split between male and female fans.
The research also reveals that 15% of UK football fans plan to watch another team rather than England at the World Cup, and that 58% of Welsh supporters would be following the Lionesses compared to just 35% from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
More generally, football fans say they would be more likely to watch the Women’s World Cup if they knew more about England’s team (61%) and the team’s history (51%), according to the survey results.
“These findings demonstrate clearly that football fans are excited by the FIFA Women’s World Cup and that there is a huge well of support among all UK fans for the England team,” says Andrew Nugee, Chief Executive Officer of Imagineear. “It also shows that the more fans are able to learn about the Lionesses and the heritage of the women’s game, the more engaged they are with the team – making them more likely to watch them play.”
Overall, 62% of football fans say they watch the England Women’s football team “at least sometimes”, including 30% who “always” or “often” watch the Lionesses’, the survey shows. The younger the fan, the more likely they are to watch the team, with 69% of those aged 18-34 saying they do at least sometimes compared to 55% of football supporters aged 55+ at the other end of the spectrum.
A significant proportion of those that watch women’s football believe that learning more about the current players (35%), going to a live match (32%), and learning more about the history and advances in the women’s game (31%) could all enhance their viewing experience.
“There is a number of ways that the England Women’s Team can build fan engagement by sharing more about the current team and where it has come from,” Nugee says .”That can involve finding ways to enhance the fan visitor experience through stadium tours that highlight the journey taken by women’s teams both at the club and national team level, and by creating compelling online experiences that tell the women’s football story via virtual technologies.”
The Imagineear survey, conducted in May 2023, was representative of UK football fans across gender, age group, region, league, team affiliation, and level of engagement – it included a mix of football supporters who identified as being “massive”, “quite big” or “casual” fans.