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Venus and Mars Unite When It Comes To Football

Mon 19th May 2014 | Fan Engagement

New sports fan research, commissioned by Advanced Ticketing and designed to help clubs improve fan engagement, has revealed UK female football fans are as passionate about the beautiful game as their male counterparts.

All fans taking part in the survey revealed what motivated them to attend live matches as well as what deterred them from becoming season ticket holders. Nothing appears to divide the avid football fan, with 26% of men and 23% of women saying they attend live matches because they ‘love to support their club’.

The research was carried out by Sportswise, who polled just under 1,000 fans on its Sports Panel about their interest in sport and engagement at live events. There was little difference between the genders about what is important when attending matches. Event atmosphere (97.6% of men and 98.7% of women) and ease of obtaining tickets (94.5% of men and 98.1% of women) topped the chart followed closely by the quality of venue (92.7% of men and 94.2% of women) and access to and from venue (94.5% of men and 97.1% of women). 

However, when delving into the detail, there are some subtleties that reveal how clubs can engage more effectively with both genders. When looking at the barriers to becoming a season ticket holder, 30% of women stated that expense was their biggest issue, with only 20% of men seeing price as a stumbling block. For men, 22.3% claimed family commitments was an issue, with only 16% of women referencing this. Fans teamed up on challenges around work commitments, with 14.5% of men and 14% of women saying this stopped them buying a season ticket. From the football fans polled, 56% of women were season ticket holders compared to 67% of men.

For the female spectator, WiFi access and an ability to engage with social media whilst watching the game was key, whereas for men, it was all about watching the game without distractions. The match day experience proved to be the main area of difference.

For example, 80% of male supporters revealed no interest in sharing photos during a game, whereas 34% of female supporters shared photos or expressed an interest in doing so. The research showed 72% of female supporters are more likely to text and make phone calls during a match compared with 62% of male supporters. 

“It’s great to know that female supporters are on the same side as male fans when it comes to supporting their football clubs,” commented Mark Dewell, Managing Director, Advanced Ticketing.

“They face the same hurdles but equally share the same passion when it comes to attending matches. The message for clubs is to look carefully at the demographics of their audiences. If women do not constitute a significant proportion of their fan base or are not represented broadly within season ticket holders, there is a strong possibility that clubs are missing out on a significant commercial opportunity

“With the female supporter reported to be more ‘connected’ during a match there may be an opening for clubs to engage with in-match content and activities which enhance the customer experience and drive further participation and revenue.

“The challenge now for UK clubs is to look at their own data to understand the size of their current female fan base and identify how they can effectively grow it through targeted fan engagement strategies.” 

Tom Gorringe, Head of Sales and Marketing, Cardiff City FC added, “Historically Cardiff City was known for anti-social behaviour and, in the past, it did bring about perception issues. We set about creating a matchday experience that was suitable for all, particularly families.

“The move to the new stadium proved the launch pad for this allowing us to offer a family stand that now boasts a magician, dance troop, games consoles and skills zone at every fixture. This experience has also been expanded to the rest of the stadium including a live local bands adding to add to the pre-match atmosphere.

“In 2000, only 2% of season ticket holders were female - this has now increased to 23%, which we are confident is down to some of these new initiatives.” 

Image: Action Images / John Sibley Livepic

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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