As the FIFA Women’s World Cup enters the quarter-final stage, new research highlights a number of misconceptions around the sport – for which a lack of promotion may be to blame.

Foremost among these is the belief across the UK that women’s football viewership is dominated by women (76%), but it is in fact driven far more by male viewers (64% vs. 36% female viewers).

That’s one of the findings of a survey of 2,000 consumers carried out by MediaCom, in association with talkSPORT.

This also showed that while women’s football fans are perceived to be young (most supporters were thought to be in the 25-34 (42%) and 18-24 (34%) age groups) the reality is a much more diverse split across all ages (25-34 year olds – 21%; 35-44 year olds – 20%; and 45-54 year olds – 18%).

Nor were fans concentrated in metropolitan areas: those in small towns and villages are almost as likely to watch the women’s football as those in London (24% vs 19%).

The research indicated that a lack of promotion around women’s football could be to blame for these misconceptions: almost two-thirds (59%) of fans agreed that not enough is being done to promote women’s football.

Half (47%) think it’s the responsibility of broadcasters to promote women’s football, while a third think it’s up to advertisers (35%).

And there’s a missed opportunity for brands, as half (51%) of women’s football fans said they’d be more likely to back a brand that supports women’s sport.

Fans want to hear more about women’s sport generally (64%) and three quarters (73%) believe it should be broadcast more frequently (73%).

“Public perception [of women’s sport] is changing for the better,” said Pauline Robson, Managing Partner at MediaCom.

“Everyone has a responsibility, from the governing bodies such as FIFA to brands and advertisers, to help to drive women’s sports to even greater heights.”

Sourced from MediaCom; additional content by WARC staff