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Matildas success set to boost growth in women’s football in Australia

Matildas success set to boost growth in women’s football in Australia
July 7, 2015

With the Matildas making history at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and tournament broadcasts on SBS attracting significant viewing figures, Roy Morgan Research believes that women’s football participation in Australia is set to grow.

In contrast to Football Federation Australia (FFA) figures that show considerable growth in female football participation over recent years, Roy Morgan Research for the period between April 2010 and March 2015 showed that the number of Australian women playing football either regularly or occasionally grew only slightly from 373,000 to 378,000.

Within this total, with the number of teenage girls aged 14 to 17 playing the sport rising from 131,000 to 141,000, boosted primarily by an increase in those who play regularly (78,000, up from 45,000).

Participation among young women aged 18 to 24 remained static at 97,000, but lost ground among the 25 to 34 age bracket, with only 73,000 taking part in the year to March 2015 (down from 94,000 five years earlier).

Women’s football participation in Australia: 2011 vs 2015

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2010–March 2011 (n=10,349) and April 2014–March 2015 (n=9,201).

Roy Morgan Research found that football participation had grown among women aged 35 to 49, with participation numbers rising from 43,000 to 56,000 (a 30% increase); as well as there being o a small increase in the number of more mature (50+) female participants (9,000 to 11,000).

Furthermore, women aged 50+ are the only group which is as likely to watch football on TV now as they were five years ago (14% of them tune in for the sport, as they did in 2010).

Roy Morgan Research found that viewing had declined across the younger age groups: from 20% to 16% of 14-17 year-olds; from 17% to 15% of 18-24 year-olds; from 19% to 18% of 25-34 year-olds; and from 19% to 17% of 35-49 year-olds.

Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan Research, Industry Communications Director, Norman Morris stated “the Matildas’ remarkable progress through to the quarter finals of the Women’s World Cup has attracted widespread media attention and inspired much patriotic pride.

“Australia’s reputation as a footballing nation lags behind our global prominence in other sports, making our women’s team’s victory over Brazil on Sunday all the more historic.

“While the last five years have seen a marked increase in the number of Australian men playing the beautiful game, the same cannot be said of women.

“Overall participation has grown by just the slightest of margins, driven mainly by women aged 35-49 and 14-17. In contrast, the number of men playing the sport has increased across all age groups except the under-18s.

“As we reported recently, soccer (football) is the second-most popular sport among Australian kids aged 6-13, with nearly 40% of girls this age taking part.

“Sports participation inevitably drops off among Aussies aged 14+, so it remains to be seen whether the Matildas’ success will inspire the current crop of footballing girls to stick at it during their teens.

"It will also be interesting to see how the participation rate looks for Aussie women a year from now, and whether the Matildas’ historic World Cup performance has resulted in more women taking up (and viewing) football."

Click here for more information on the Roy Morgan Research website.

24th June 2015 - WOMEN’S SPORT IS A SERIOUSLY UNTAPPED MARKET 

6th May 2015 - FFA SETS OUT 20 YEAR PLAN FOR DEVELOPMENT OF FOOTBALL

9th April 2015 - PLAYING SPORT BENEFITS THE MENTAL HEALTH OF AUSTRALIANS

18th June 2014 - FFA APPOINTS HEAD OF WOMEN’S FOOTBALL

30th November 2013 - FFA UNVEILS BLUEPRINT FOR FURTHER GROWTH OF WOMEN’S FOOTBALL


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