SportsWomen's Euros 2022: A Breakthrough Moment For The Game

Women’s Euros 2022: A Breakthrough Moment For The Game

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The final of the Women’s Euros was attended by 87,192 in a packed Wembley stadium, a record for both the women’s and men’s game.  

England won 2-1 over Germany, thanks to an extra-time winner. 

It’s England’s first major trophy in 56 years, with the tournament being a massive success story for the women’s game.  

I explore how this year’s Women’s Euros is a breakthrough moment.


How has the tournament done?

In the build-up to this tournament, there wasn’t much anticipation from the English public. The BBC asked the opinions of football fans about if they would watch the tournament. The responses showed an evident change from a lack of interest at the start of the tournament to  people fully invested in what was going on in the end. Larry Dickens, from Shropshire, said he never bothered to watch women’s football until the Euros. “It has been a breath of fresh air – tough, resilient and honest, superb footballers with excellent skills,” said Dickens. Tim Williamson is another women’s game converter, a 67-year-old Arsenal fan from north London. He said he never took women’s football seriously until the Euros competition. “To my wife’s anger, I found myself screaming and swearing at the set just like I do when Arsenal are playing,” said Williamson.

According to YouGov, 42% of people became interested in women’s sports after watching international events. Photo credit: Forbes.

In total, 574,875 people watched the tournament, more than twice the previous record. The attendance record was also broken at the opening game at Old Trafford, where 68,871 watched England beat Austria 1-0. Alex Scott, a pundit for BBC Sport and former Arsenal player, recalled when people said the women’s game couldn’t fill stadiums due to a lack of interest in the sport. “Back in 2018, we were begging people to host the Euros games in their stadiums. So many people said no. I hope they’re looking at themselves and thinking they weren’t brave enough.” The pundit continued to say that the women’s game is “gathering speed.” she said: “I’m not standing up at corporate events begging for them to get involved in the women’s game. If you’re not involved, you’ve missed the boat. You’ve missed the train, it’s finally left the station, it’s gathering speed.”

Shifting momentum for the women’s game 

This year’s women’s Euros had shifted the momentum for the game, which was gathering pace even before the tournament had begun. Year by year, turnouts to these games increased, television numbers rose, and issues surrounding the sport were broadcasted more and more. Many in the sport, like Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, are labelling the Euros “a tournament for the ages.” The increased professionalism and participation are behind such a shift in attention, which was first sparked by the 2019 Women’s World cup in France. This tournament, in particular, allowed greater sponsorships, like broadcasting deals, which has enabled the sport to be broadcasted to audiences that would probably not encounter the women’s game. 

It is especially the case when you find out that 40% of sports fans report that a lack of media coverage is a crucial driver in not watching the women’s game. The good news is that there is a change in how we view the women’s game. According to YouGov, 42% of people became interested in women’s sports after watching international events. The main thing is to take this interest and generate this into long-term support for the game. It is about increasing investment into the game internationally, nationally, and locally. As Tracey Crouch has said, the game cannot endorse a “culture of dispensability and short-termism” and must look beyond the Euros. What is for sure is that this tournament has brought about a breakthrough moment, and it is time to use this breakthrough to generate long-term interest in the sport.                

Hamish Hallett
Hamish Halletthttps://muckrack.com/hamish-hallett/portfolio
Hamish Hallett is a journalist/broadcaster part of the scribe team at Common Sense. He has a deep interest in current affairs, both domestically and internationally. Hamish loves to understand what makes people tick and get to the root of today's issues. Away from the network, Hamish has a profound interest in reading books, keeping active, travailing, meeting new and exciting people and controversially having ham and pineapple on pizza.

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