Interview: Exploring Data Science at Brandwatch with Hamish Morgan
By Olivia SwainAug 23
Published June 13th 2019
Since the FA banned women’s football in the 1920’s, calling it “quite unsuitable for females,” making steps towards equality in the field has been a real struggle.
That said, nearly 100 years later the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France is expected to be the biggest yet.
And, for the first time ever, UEFA just launched a five-year strategy that will support, guide, and lift both women’s’ football and the perception of the game across Europe. The ‘Time for Action’ pledge is massively helping keep the ball rolling (ahem!) for change in women’s football.
UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin says it best:
We’re capturing hundreds of thousands of mentions of the Women’s World Cup from social media, and buzz around the sport seems to be at an all time high. But what are the key drivers in the conversation?
We found out.
Phil Neville, England’s coach went in big with the announcement of the squad.
Each player received a special message from a celebrity, from male footballers, to TV and radio personalities, to the Royal family. They got behind the Lionesses to welcome them to the team and cheer them on for their journey to France.
On announcement day, 30,000 people rushed online to congratulate the players using the hashtag: #BeReady.
The legend in men’s football, David Beckham showed his support to number 7, Nikita Parris on Instagram saying “good luck, we will be watching”:
Meanwhile, actress Emma Watson made this video on Twitter to announce Demi Stokes’ place on to the team:
And even HRH Prince William gave a shout out on behalf of Kensington Palace to England’s Captain, number 5, Steph Houghton:
It gives me great pleasure to announce that our @Lionesses' defensive rock and captain @StephHoughton2 will be on the plane to France for the Women's World Cup.— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 8, 2019
Steph - congratulations. I know you and the team will do the nation proud. Good luck!#BeReady #Lionesses pic.twitter.com/xoRHnNeCrI
These mega-influencers well and truly amplified the announcement of the new team, and sent #BeReady and #Lionesses soaring.
Analyzing the broad conversation around women’s football, I found that video was an enormous part of the conversation.
Many of the most popular posts included a moving visual, often with an emotional message.
Here are a few of the top ones I found:
UEFA’s aforementioned pledge to act to support women’s football with a five year plan launched on 17 May.
Alongside this, they shared a fierce and inspiring video that has got people talking about the need for a change.
This bold video, supported by men’s England captain Harry Kane, sums up the action we need to take to boost women’s football to the next level.
BBC’s FIFA World Cup Official Trailer
The BBC worked with Ms Banks to create the FIFA World Cup Official Trailer and rap which features England & Scotland stars, a unique take on “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor.
It’s been shared plenty of times, including by @MsBanks herself:
‘Rise’ is a great name – it represents England’s rise in the world rankings, the new feat from Scotland who have qualified for the tournament for the first time, and, of course, it alludes to the rise in status of women’s football as a whole.
Germany’s epic World Cup ad
Another popular video within this conversation is Germany’s Women’s World Cup advert: ‘We play for a nation that doesn’t even know our names’.
Did you know Germany have been European Champions not one, two, or three, but eight times?!
Sometimes the best video content is that which is unplanned.
For example, Brandwatch Analytics helped me find the most tweeted post using the hashtag #ChangeTheGame. In this post, Pep Guardiola, former player and manager of Manchester City, was asked whether his team was going to win the ‘first domestic treble in this country’.
Pep quickly corrected the reporter, saying “the women have won it”.
It’s not just likes and retweets that are showing growing interest in women’s football.
On June 9th 2019 we saw a record breaking 6.1m viewers for England’s first 2019 World Cup match against Scotland.
This makes it the most watched women’s game ever on UK TV!
We are on the brink of change
Earlier this year we saw Lewes Football Club offering both their men’s and women’s teams the same salary.
We have also seen the England women’s team give up their second jobs to play football professionally.
In England, players in the FA Women’s Super League receive an average of £26,752 a year while the men in the Premier League are paid an average of £2.64m (€2.9m), or 99 times that figure.
Don’t get too depressed, though. In light of this recent push for women’s football by fans, the FA and UEFA, more young people will have the opportunity to play and to be paid fairly as they rise through the ranks.