Digital platforms boosting Women’s World Cup popularity

The Women’s World Cup in France is progressing through the knockout stages, and already there is substantial support from across the globe.

FIFA has crunched the numbers and found that after 36 matches over 14 days, the growth of their digital content and channels have skyrocketed.

As part of their reveal for how fans are engaging with the World Cup, FIFA’s digital media has seen significant change.

On all of the Women’s World Cup channels, there has been a total of 433 million views to this point – 82 million of them coming from video views.

The data received from FIFA’s channels shows there has been a huge accumulation of supporters. All of the key details as found by FIFA are presented below:

  • 433 million views on FIFA channels (with 82 million video views).
  • Increase of two million followers.
  • 20% share of conversation on Twitter, leading to 1.25 million new social followers related to women’s football.
  • Increase of 25% for interaction with Team Reporters.
  • 3000 hours of the WWC Daily Show being watched.
  • 6 million Likes on Facebook.

As teams aim to go deep into the tournament, the social media numbers should only grow from here. There will be plenty of achievements left both on and off the pitch.

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

FIFA aiming to raise funds to grow its streaming service

FIFA is looking to raise up to $2.97 billion AUD in order to expand its streaming service FIFA+ by working with the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS).

According to Bloomberg, Football’s governing body is collaborating with UBS Group AG. A formal fundraising process is expected to commence in July, targeting mostly financial investors from the US and the Middle East.

Despite no comments from UBS and FIFA, deliberations are at an early stage with certain details such as timing and fundraising size could change with tFIFA preparing to offer a minority stake in FIFA+.

Launched in April 2022, FIFA+ is a free, ad-supported streaming service that planned to stream over 40,000 live games a year, with at least a quarter of them coming from women’s matches. The streaming service also provided highlights, archive footage, documentaries, docuseries, talk shows and shorts.

Currently, FIFA+ has offered live streaming in smaller broadcasting markets where it was offered for free in countries where it didn’t have the TV rights for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) streamed all of its competitions on the platform while also showing live coverage of the FIFA Club World Cup in some territories.

However, FIFA is currently struggling to find a major broadcaster for next year’s FIFA Club World Cup which is set to be held in the U.S.

According to SportsPro Media, Apple reportedly offered FIFA $1.49 AUD for worldwide television rights for the tournament. But, this is much less than FIFA’s intended $5.94 billion AUD.

It is still unclear how FIFA would use these potential funds to improve its current streaming service, but some potential ideas include technological development, marketing and direct rights acquisitions.

America must fix issues before co-hosting 2026 World Cup

Copa America 2024 has kicked off the knockout stages with plenty of goals and drama on the pitch, but that has quickly been overshadowed by low attendances, poor pitch quality and sky high ticket prices leaving many fans, players and coaches stranded and confused.

In what can be seen as a prelude to a landmark 2026 FIFA World Cup, the USA have already shown signs of failing to host a major football event in a country where grassroots participation and attendances for the sport desperately need a revival.

These have been the main issues so far at the event that are in the spotlight if the US want to correctly co-host the biggest tournament with Mexico and Canada in the sport.

Attendance numbers

If the sweltering heat and embarrassing broadcast camera angles weren’t already bad enough, the US Men’s national team failed to sell out any of their three group stage matches, with a controversial 47,873 crowd for the opener against Bolivia in an 80,000 seat AT&T Stadium.

The comparison is to put it side-by-side with the Euros currently in Germany, where there have been no issues packing out stadiums with capacities of up to 75,000 and tickets selling out months in advance.

Fan culture is rife with many fan zones and packed watching venues keeping the streets busy with football fandom which is just completely non-existent in the US.

But there is a reason for all of this, and it can’t be for a lack of interest after Fox Sports confirmed that the must-win USA-Uruguay contest attracted an average of 3.78 million viewers on FS1.

According to Fox Sports, that was the largest audience to see a a match that isn’t a World Cup on FS1 and the highest-ever English-language viewership total in the United States for a Copa America match.

It smashed previous Copa America games so far, but it never translated to support in the stadium which gives the hosts slight encouragement on finding a solution to fix this problem.

Ticket Prices

Fans at the event are consistently being priced out, leading directly to the poor attendance numbers and lack of atmosphere.

The lowest ticket price for the quarterfinal matches of the Euros were as low as $96 to watch world-class teams such as Spain, Germany and France whilst in the Copa America, Ticketmaster and Seat Geek in the US had fans pay minimum of $163 for quarterfinal tickets.

This is without factoring in the travel expenses going from state to state versus the easily accessible matches in Germany that can be travelled via affordable public transport.

The NFL and NBA have some of the highest average ticket prices in all of domestic sporting leagues across the world, but the demand and entertainment offered gives fans a reason to accept its value. A sport like soccer in the US would thrive from its affordability and encourage any sports fan to give it a go.

Pitch Quality

Players and coaches have come out in the media to criticise the pitch quality in the Copa America so far, claiming the inconsistencies have negatively affected team performance and the way teams prepare for matches.

Emi Martinez and Weston McKennie’s harsh words after matchday 1 forced a statement out of CONMEBOL who defended the state of the pitches, too much controversy.

It simply has to change for 2026 if it wants to remain fit to host football’s grandest event.

With the 2026 World Cup set to be played in many of the same venues across the United States, each new controversy over pitch conditions at Copa América accentuates the ongoing concerns about the quality of the venues and the difficulty of using NFL stadiums for football.

Conclusion

Affordability is the biggest issue needing to change going into the 2026 World Cup.

Ticket prices must be affordable to account for the hike in prices across the country for travel and accommodation.

With the 2026 World Cup held in three geographically large countries, fans will be forked to shell out thousands on travel if scheduled to play in differing countries and states.

However, overall, this World Cup has real potential to live up to the success of 1994 that saw the sport boom in popularity in North America and that surge in popularity is definitely required for the future of the sport in the US.

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