- Soccer is the most popular sport among female audiences, with 31% of surveyed women reporting interest in the sport across 18 markets in 2017, according to Nielsen research.
- Among female audiences, 58% said the women's World Cup was "very appealing," compared to 70% who said the same for the men's World Cup. Since the last World Cup in 2014, the most significant increase in on-target reach was with the 18- to 34-year-old female demographic. Thirty-eight percent of ads reached their target in 2014, compared to 56% today.
- Nelsen's research also showed that TV remains a key platform for reaching soccer fans. In the U.K., only 9% of viewers planned to watch this year's tournament on a mobile device.
Brands often put heavy marketing pushes behind major sporting events, like the Super Bowl and the World Cup, but much of sports advertising has, to date, been catered to male audiences. Nielsen's research underpins how female sports fans are potentially seriously underserved, both in the U.S. and globally, and also a group that might be particularly responsive to targeted advertising. The findings around soccer fandom also reinforce how younger women, namely in the key 18-to-34 age segment, are more likely to shun traditional gender stereotypes.
The 2018 World Cup, which ends this weekend, is expected to break global viewership records, with 3.4 billion tuning into the tournament, according to GlobalWebIndex data cited by The Hollywood Reporter. The 2014 event in Brazil drew 3.2 billion global viewers. As overall TV viewership continues to decline, the Nielsen data points out that linear TV remains a relevant platform for World Cup advertisers, with only 9% of U.K. viewers tuning in on mobile.
However, marketers and networks are still looking for ways to extend their reach digitally as eyeballs shift to smaller screens. A recent study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that 65% of surveyed global consumers who have live streamed video in the past planned to live stream some World Cup matches, with most in that group preferring mobile viewing. Seventy-one percent planned to watch games live on linear TV, the IAB found.