Women’s football- a brand new sales opportunity
I hate football. I grew up in a testosterone fuelled house with two brothers and a Dad who continuously argued about whose team was best. Week after week I watched them each become devastated and defeated by their own team’s lacklustre performance on the tv.
Several decades of suffering out loud later, I bumped into Paul from Magnify Marketing at the annual Stonegate Supplier Conference. Paul is master of creating an event out of televised sport. Our conversation centred around the impending Women’s World Cup and he asked me what did I understand about what women wanted from the experience of watching football. My first unsurprising reaction was “I don’t know” closely followed by a curiosity to go and find out.
New Zealand and England women’s teams were playing a friendly at the Amex Stadium in Brighton that weekend – at £10 a ticket I had nothing to lose. From the first moment I joined the pilgrimage to the stadium I realised that this experience was something very different to the football I knew. Where were the largered groups of ‘lads’ with the painted tribal faces and their football uniforms?
I shared a great afternoon with fathers and daughters, sisters and sons and three generations of families munching on picnics of crudites, hummus and flasks of tea. All attempts to get the Mexican wave and the drums knocking out repetitive rhythms were quashed with indifference and a fascination with watching the skills of the players and the camaraderie on the pitch. We left entertained and happy from the stadium – sold on women’s football despite England losing to the underdogs.
I was curious to understand how other female football phobes might perceive the experience of watching the women’s world cup. So we decided to conduct some research!
We asked eight women to watch a world cup game and video record their responses to their experience before during and after the game. We used Story Tagger a brilliant auto ethnography tool that bought our insight to life. The research is fascinating and demonstrates a fundamental truth that Women’s Football is not Football this is a new sport – Women’s Football. If you miss that point you miss the opportunity.
There is an enormous opportunity for businesses to get behind women and support the game and the prize will be enormous in food and drink sales but more importantly creating much needed role models for collaboration, passion and skill.
We know women are different to men and never has this been more true than observing women watching women’s football. We must start with a blank sheet of paper and an open mind on how do we communicate and host a women’s football game. What do women want and what will build the momentum between now and when England hosts the Women’s Euros in 2021?
My plan is to further explore the opportunity and I would love to share the story of the research so far if you would like to listen.
By the way, I still hate football, but I love Women’s Football.