The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final is this Sunday and despite our Lionesses being defeated by the current number one team in the world (USA), enthusiasm for women’s football has never been so strong – a theme which has run through the entire tournament, and especially across social media.
The BBC’s campaign for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, #ChangeTheGame, kicked off in May. Using an empowering, head-on approach to their marketing, the campaign featured the accompanying slogan ‘They’re Better Than You Think’.
Since then, momentum and attention has only grown for the Women’s World Cup. We’ve witnessed the UK’s most watched women’s football game of all time, the re-birth of the Lionesses and an estimated 1 billion television views for the tournament – but why?
We’re currently in the “fourth wave” of feminism and although some might argue it to be the “post-feminism” wave, many would agree that equality will be a constant battle. Fourth wave feminism is also known as the “social-media wave”, with movements like #MeToo and #YesAllWomen, both hosted and popularised on Twitter – #ChangeTheGame is no different.
The use of hashtags have been crucial in promoting the Women’s World Cup. Investors want to join in on the “all-inclusive” conversation, and now is the best time to showcase their equality by supporting the women’s games.
With this, the Women’s World Cup has also gained some of its biggest ever investors: VISA is now spending the same on the women’s world cup as the men’s for the first time; Barclays is investing in a £10 million deal; and the BBC is providing total television coverage. Sponsors have joined for the long term too – VISA has the first ever sponsorship solely dedicated to the women’s matches, contracted until 2025.
Other marketing partners have also built their own excitement for the Women’s World Cup. Lucozade Sport launched its #madetomove hashtag, and Nike created its ‘Dream With Us’ campaign. BBC Sport (7.85M followers), England Football (3.78M followers) and Match Of The Day’s (2.76M followers) utilised their Twitter profiles to host the #ChangeTheGame banner.
The question then remains: what was the game changer for this year’s World Cup?
The hopeful answer? Progression. We cannot underestimate the fact that we’re seeing more women in football behind the scenes, pushing for equal share from brands, exposure and coverage. However, a more honest answer might be the use of Twitter.
Twitter, like many other social networks, faces a great risk of becoming “irrelevant”, however, a key aspect which will keep it in the game, is hashtags and trending “moments” for live events. With worldwide sponsors (and fans) pushing to own a hashtag for each Women’s World Cup match – such as #ENGNOR – every single game at this year’s tournament has had top spot on the trending page.
With the final right around the corner, and television views hitting 7.6 million, we can only assume that this number will increase. Let’s just hope this year’s World Cup has really #ChangedTheGame of how we view women’s football.
Written For the Prism Team by Katie Thomas