Almost half a million football fans from across the globe are expected to visit England next month as it plays host to the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 for the second time in the tournament’s history. Yet less than a fifth of the home nation (18%) plan to watch the games, according to new research from Doritos.
By comparison, last year’s England vs Italy UEFA Euro 2020 final was the most-watched TV event in UK history with 42 million Brits tuning in.
To inspire the nation to get behind the women’s game with the same passion it did for the men’s game last summer, Doritos has teamed up with footballers Jill Scott and Mason Mount to encourage people to show their support.
According to Doritos research – which was commissioned to discover the nation’s attitudes towards women’s football ahead of this summer’s championships – while support for the women’s game is at an all-time high, there is still a way to go until the women’s game receives the same level of support as the men’s game.
Over half (53%) the nation claim to be more aware of women’s football than ever before, and almost two thirds (62%) claim to have watched a game. Yet while men’s football is firmly entrenched in British culture, 95% of Brits have watched a men’s game within the last year, and over half of the nation watch it weekly (56%), there is still an opportunity for UK football fans to get behind the women’s game.
While a quarter (26%) of people claim to show their support for their favourite men’s football team by wearing the club’s shirt, only 1% of people in the UK have ever worn a shirt with a female footballer’s name on it.
Additionally, despite this summer’s tournament being set to be the biggest UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 yet with several games already sold out, including the final at Wembley and the Lionesses’ three group games, 88% of the home nation don’t currently plan to tune into the games.
Through partnering with Scott and Mount for its UEFA Women’s Euro campaign, Doritos aims to change that, making 2022 the biggest year for women’s football yet.
England midfielder Jill Scott said: “All the girls are so excited to represent England at this year’s UEFA Women’s Euro, and as we saw last summer, being on home turf is an incredibly special occasion that I’m honoured to be a part of.
“Having played with England for over 15 years now, it’s amazing to see how far women’s football has come. It feels like momentum around the sport is finally building, but we know there’s still so much work to be done until women’s football is where it needs to be.
“We would love for everyone to get behind the game in the same way as they did for the men’s game last year – whether that’s coming to watch a game, watching at home, or going to the pub and watching it with friends and family.
“With Wembley Stadium already sold out for the final our goal is clear, and everyone is working so hard to achieve it and make the nation proud.”
When it comes to barriers to watching the tournament, not having anyone to watch the games with came out top. Over a third (37%) of the nation claim they’d support the tournament this summer if they could watch with friends. However, many claim they don’t have anyone to watch it with (29%), and over a quarter (26%) say that they don’t really discuss women’s football with others.
By contrast, the influence of family and friends was a major driver for supporting the men’s game, with family loyalty (51%) cited as the top reason for people supporting the sport, while a third (32%) claimed it was due to their friends watching it (32%).
Doritos – alongside Scott and Mount – is therefore calling on the nation to rally family and friends to join them in supporting by watching the games – either in person, or on television.
Mason Mount comments “The growth of the women’s game is really important for the future of football, which is why I really want everyone to get behind the tournament this summer.
The support myself and the other players received last summer was incredible and with the same support and energy I’m sure the Lionesses have a great chance to win the Euros. I really hope it’s a landmark moment that inspires everyone, especially girls, to get into football”
Cynthia Finke, Marketing Director at Doritos commented: “As a snack brand loved by football fans, we want to use our position to rally the nation to embrace women’s football, both during the tournament this summer and beyond.
We can see that women’s football is rising in popularity as the excitement and emotion of the UEFA Women’s Euro championships is taking hold, but there’s still a job to be done in encouraging more people to tune in and enjoy the amazing sport that is women’s football.”
Elsewhere in the data, it was revealed that Leeds is the UK hotspot for women’s football, with 75% saying they’ve watched at least one game, followed by London with 70%. However, Northern Ireland and Wales watch the least women’s football, with only 45% of people in these regions have watched a game.
Doritos wants inspire Britain to uninhibitedly be themselves when supporting women’s football – both this summer and beyond – by boldly championing women’s football fandom for this year’s UEFA Women’s Euro. For supporters wanting to rally behind the women’s team, Doritos is teaming up with Walkers MAX and Pepsi MAX to give away 750 pairs of tickets, including for sold out matches and chances to win cash prizes, through an on-pack promotion, in store now.^
For those wanting to tune in, the tournament kicks off with England vs Austria at 20:00 on Wednesday 6th July at Old Trafford, which will be broadcast live on the BBC.