Commentary

2019 FIFA Women's World Cup: How Marketers Can Get In the Game

With a goal of one billion viewers, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France holds untold potential for marketers. This year’s tournament is poised to be the most exciting to date for a few reasons:

France is still buzzing from its 2018 Men’s World Cup win, while the U.S. women’s team is heavily favored to win this year. Toss in some intense, off-the-field conversations about gender equality, and it’s easy to see why interest in the games is at an all-time high. 

As marketers, of course, we’re every bit as interested in who is watching the games as who the players are. While awareness of the FIFA Women’s World Cup is relatively low compared to popular sporting events like the Super Bowl, the potential to advertise to a billion global viewers cannot be overlooked.

However, incorporating the Women’s World Cup into a marketing strategy can be frustrating if we know little about the fans. It’s tempting to make assumptions; we’re talking about the Women’s World Cup, so most viewers will be female, right? 

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We conducted a nationwide online survey to measure awareness and interest in the 2019 Women’s World Cup among U.S. adults. The responses help to define the persona of the typical FIFA Women’s World Cup viewer. For example, we now know:

Who Will Watch

Three out of ten U.S. adults have some interest in watching the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Surprisingly, men are significantly more likely than women to be aware of and show interest in watching the games. 

We also found that Millennials and Hispanics have stronger interest in the games than the adult population in general. 

Here are the details:

  1. Male. 34% of males said they were very interested or somewhat interested in watching any of the Women’s World Cup soccer matches this year vs. 23% of females. 
  2. Millennial. 36% of Millennials 18-34 said they were very interested or somewhat interested in watching any of the Women’s World Cup soccer matches this year vs. 27% of Gen-Xers.
  3. Hispanic. 41% of Hispanics stated that they were very interested or somewhat interested in watching any of the Women’s World Cup soccer matches this year vs. 25% of non-Hispanic Whites, 22% of African Americans, and 33% of Asians.
  4. Educated, High-Income Earners. 61% of respondents who are  very interested in watching the Women’s World Cup are college grads with a median household income of $97K.

How They Will Watch

While most fans will watch the Women’s World Cup matches on a regular TV, a large share (18- to 34-year olds in particular) will be streaming matches to their TV or other devices.

Fans are more likely to watch World Cup games with others, particularly among Hispanics.

Whether they watch on TV or stream online, a significant number of soccer enthusiasts, especially millennials, will be interacting with others on social media throughout the tournament, sharing their reactions as they watch.  

Women’s World Cup Viewer Persona Snapshot

So, our viewer is a well-educated 37-year-old Hispanic family man with higher than average income who looks forward to getting together with friends and family to watch the Women’s World Cup games, even making an occasion out of it, à la the Super Bowl.

He’ll probably stream the matches online and will most certainly be commenting on social media as the event unfolds. 

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To Kick Off a Winning Campaign

Smart advertisers will forgo the typical sponsorships high on octane and low on substance in favor of more thoughtful ads that appeal not only to those high-income Hispanic male viewers, but also to the women in their lives. 

Ads that inspire, challenge current conventions, and spark meaningful conversations among viewers will have a greater impact. 

Whether via TV or streaming, brands that advertise during the Women’s World Cup have an opportunity to create immersive experiences that will be remembered long after the last goal is made. 

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