The popularity of women's football continues on an upward curve following the London 2012 Olympics, research has revealed
A study by The FA Women's Super League (WSL), which explored public perceptions of women’s football both before and after the Games, found a huge increase in both awareness and excitement in the sport.
With the WSL season re-commencing this week, the League and players are urging fans to continue their support for women’s football and get behind the #BeInspired campaign.
Almost 70 per cent of the 1,000 of people surveyed stated that they would consider going to watch a live women’s game – an increase of 15 per cent since the performances of Team GB Women at London 2012, with a further 95 per cent believing that female football players make positive role models for teenage girls.
The Olympic buzz has also led to a 43 per cent rise in people who said would be more likely to participate in the sport.
Reaching unprecedented levels of interest during the Olympics, records were smashed for crowd participation, with an incredible 70,584-strong crowd watching the women’s team triumph over Brazil at Wembley, the largest crowd to watch a women’s game in this country since 1920.
The Olympic Final between USA v Japan at Wembley broke even more records with an attendance of over 80,000, the second largest crowd of all time for a women’s football match. A record TV audience also peaked at 3.9m on BBC Three and BBC Olympic Four.
Building on The FA WSL’s season two pledge to drive interactivity throughout the League - which launched when women’s football became the first UK sport to have Twitter armbands for their digital ambassadors - Twitter results have shown an positive increase in player awareness.
Kelly Simmons, The FA’s Head of the National Game, said: “These results show what an amazing legacy the Olympics has created for women’s football.
"With the upcoming Premier League season and football on everyone’s minds, it will be great to see if the public and media continue to support our women’s football Olympians as they return to their local WSL clubs.
"The League kicks off this week and it is vital we use the platform London 2012 gave us to grow and develop the game here and keep all our new and existing fans.
“We want to make sure that we build on the Olympic momentum to secure ongoing passion and interest in women’s sport – from the grassroots, upwards.
"The research showed that nearly one in two people were so inspired by the Olympics that they were more likely to play football themselves, which is a great measure of how popular our Olympians were.
"We want to encourage everyone to #BeInspired by the Olympics and keep supporting women’s football and our wonderful role models that play the game.”
Source: The FA WSL
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Team GB's place at the Rio 2016 Olympics has been the subject of debate this week. Coach Hope Powell and striker Kelly Smith are among those hoping to see a GB team qualify for the Games, although FA General Secretary Alex Horne said it was "unlikely".
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