New figures show most UK young women will watch Qatar 2022

Once cinemas screened Sex and the City movies for “World Cup widows” and brands targeted oafish blokes interested in only in goals and breasts.

But new research seen by the suggests the 2022 tournament will be watched by an unprecedented number of female fans, consigning sexist stereotypes to history and setting a new challenge to advertisers and broadcasters.

Figures from consumer market analysts Mintel show that 49 percent of women now plan to watch the Qatar World Cup.

Boosted by the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 success and high-profile TV slots for Women’s Super League games, viewing is set to reach 62 per cent for women aged 16-34.

The Mintel research also found that women are set to lead the World Cup conversation both in the studio and on social media – female fans aged 16-24 are more likely to post or share about football (31 per cent) than any other age or gender group.

More on Lionesses

However, brands tapping into a new generation of female fans need to understand that social justice off the pitch is just as important to them as scoring goals. Mintel found that 86 percent of women who watch football believe it is important that female athletes stand up for women’s rights.

As recently as 2014, advertisers still felt able to treat women as football-hating killjoys set on ruining their partner’s desire to glug beer and watch all 64 games uninterrupted.

A Pringles advert portrayed a footie-loving bloke hiding his mobile phone in the crisp’s tube to avoid nagging calls from his girlfriend.

Pot Noodle’s used 2014’s Brazil location as an excuse to create a talking beach towel that leered at women in skimpy bikinis.

Curry’s PC World’s “Football? WhatFootball?” campaign featured three different husbands trying to con their wives into buying big televisions so they can watch football.

Meanwhile, cinemas offered special screenings of rom-coms such as Sex and the City to scoop up an audience of “World Cup widows.”

More on World Cup 2022

This time, brands have got the message that casual sexism is out. Coca-Cola’s Believing Is Magic campaign launched in August with a clip featuring a passionate young female football fan, walking down a street and dreaming of her team winning the tournament.

The official World Cup sponsor followed up with a video of Queen’s “A Kind Of Magic”, performed by a trio of female artists from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, giving the tune a “Latin and Arabic fusion.”

Simon Davis, CEO of leading digital marketing agency, Walk-In Media, said: “The shift in consumer attitudes, the more gender-balanced viewing audience and the threat to brand reputation delivered almost instantaneously by an adverse reaction on social media means we are unlikely to see the kind of sexist adverts we saw in 2014.”

Although still a minority, female pundits will have a much-increased representation in TV studios. The BBC and ITV are fielding nine female analysts who have played at the highest level between them, compared to just two – Alex Scott (BBC) and Eni Aluko (ITV) – at the 2018 men’s tournament.

‘Don’t mention Qatar’

Brands which normally proclaim their support for the LGBTQ community are consequently at a risk of alienating consumers if they appear to endorse the Qatari state, where same-sex relationships are illegal, with the host nation subject to widespread condemnation of its discriminatory policies.

“It’s a case of ‘don’t mention Qatar’ in adverts,” Mr Davis told the. “Sponsors are either reining back their activity or downplaying the host nation.”

He pointed to Budweiser’s star-studded advert which uses Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr and England striker Raheem Sterling to promote the tournament. “They meet in a tunnel but it could be set in any stadium in the world. They literally de-Qatarised it.”

Broadcasters will stick to the football and shy away from anything that might celebrate Qatar as a tourist destination.

“In previous tournaments, we had Rio de Janeiro and Moscow’s Red Square as backdrops. There won’t be any of that in any of our output this time. It will all be in the stadium, the sole purpose, 100 per cent, will be to cover football,” Mark Trinder, ITV director of commercial sales and partnerships, told campaign.

Scott is joined by former Lionesses Karen Bardsley and Izzy Christiansen as well as Welsh coach Jayne Ludlow, in the BBC’s World Cup pundits team.

The BBC also boasts Laura Georges, a defender capped 188 times by France and general secretary of the French Football Federation. Georges, who played for Paris St Germaincompleted a master’s thesis on the impact of media coverage on women’s football.

On ITV, former England star Aluko returns alongside Karen Carney, as well as Chelsea women coach Emma Hayes, regarded as one of the game’s most astute analysts, as big-match pundits.

ITV’s analysis team also includes Nadia Nadim, whose family fled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan after her father was executed for being a general in the army.

More on Everyday Sexism

They found asylum in Denmark and Ms Nadim went on to represent the country nearly 100 times during a successful career in which she played club football for Paris St Germain.

Gabby Logan and Kelly Cates will have lead presenting roles for the BBC alongside Gary Lineker with Vicki Sparks and Pien Meulensteen among the commentary team. Laura Woods and Seema Jaswal will be lead presenters alongside Mark Pougatch.

Paul Davies, category director of leisure at Mintel, told the: “The England Lionesses’ triumphant victory at Euro 2022 gives women’s football strong appeal for brands looking to position themselves as champions of gender equality, and emboldens leagues, teams and athletes to take a lead on social issues (potentially wider than just those affecting women ) rather than just ‘shut up and dribble’.”

Yet even if the “World Cup widow” has been retired, Sky is still offering subscribers a “World Cup Escapism” on-demand package, which features Christmas programming and celebrity travelogues, as an alternative. A reminder that a month of wall-to-wall football can still be a turn-off for people of all genders.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *