Damson Park Dames

Women’s football is no longer niche but attendances say otherwise

LAST year BBC Sport commissioned a report into attendances in the top flight of the women’s game.

Unsurprisingly Manchester City came out on top with an impressive average attendance of 2,253.

It was an increase of 50% on the previous year and a sign that things were moving in the right direction.

Sadly not all clubs followed the trend and Liverpool, Sunderland and Notts County saw home support drop over the same period.

We must consider how we can continue to improve attendances as a community in order to further the sport we love.

The vast majority of marketing for the Women’s Super League is targeted towards kids and families.

While we can applaud the efforts to promote long-term thinking we fail to consider the short term.

Adult football fans is where the money is.

With the demise of Notts County we must act carefully to preserve and grow women’s football in the UK.

The majority of football fans in Britain continue to be male according to a Euro 2016 survey with two thirds of those who claim to follow football being men.

Taking Birmingham City as an example, the men’s side played in front of a crowd of 21,168 last Saturday.

Meanwhile, Birmingham City Ladies had an average attendance of 792 according to last year’s BBC Sport survey.

Why such a huge divide?

I consider marketing to be one of the main reasons.

If the majority of adult male football fans consider women’s football to be “not for them” then you lose a lot of potential bums on seats.

Women’s football has a lot to offer to fans of the men’s game. Taking the England national team as the example, there is a general sense of disillusionment with the men’s side.

Too many times have we seen the supposed golden generations of the English game passing the ball backwards or across the midfield with no real direction.

Whereas last night’s Women’s World Cup Qualifier saw the exact opposite of that.

An England side who looked to get forward at every opportunity against supposedly the most difficult team in their group in Russia.

If anything England started to grow complacent and wasteful as the goals continued to come.

When is the last time we could say the same about the men’s side?

Passion for football remains high in this country.

If we can market the WSL and the women’s game in general better to adult football fans then perhaps we can really grow the game.

And maybe then, we can prevent another club suffering the same fate as Notts County.