UEFA Women’s Champions League final sets record cumulative viewership

The recent UEFA Women’s Champions League final between Olympique Lyon and Barcelona accumulated a record-setting viewership of 3.6 million globally.

As revealed by sports streaming media company DAZN, the cumulative viewership marks a 56 per cent increase in audience compared to the final of the elite European women’s club soccer competition last season.

The figure covers DAZN’s over-the-top (OTT) platform and its Women’s Champions League YouTube channel, as well as 11 free-to-air (FTA) channels in Europe.

The 2021/22 campaign was the first in DAZN’s multi-year partnership with UEFA and YouTube, which made the entire competition available for free globally.

Total engagement for the season’s 61 matches – including highlights, player interviews and other original content – clocked 64 million views on DAZN’s platforms from more than 230 countries and territories. Of that, 4.1 million live views are attributed to last weekend’s final between Olympique Lyonnais and Barcelona.

In the last three months of the season, more than 12.3 million unique viewers visited DAZN’s Women’s Champions League YouTube channel to watch the knockout round fixtures, final and original content.

Ahead of the final on May 21, DAZN confirmed a host of sublicensing deals with traditional linear networks across Europe to air the match. In the UK, the game was watched by a live peak audience of 372,000 on ITV4.

“This first season as the global broadcaster of the UEFA Women’s Champions League has been a tremendous success and reflects DAZN’s commitment to close the coverage gap between women’s and men’s sports,” said Shay Segev, chief executive of DAZN Group Chief Executive Shay Segev said in a statement.

“We are invigorated about year two and look forward to engaging even more audiences as we further contribute towards building popularity in women’s football.”

UEFA chief of women’s football Nadine Kessler added:

“Together with DAZN and YouTube, who streamed all matches for free to a global audience, we managed to give the women’s game the exposure it deserves. Through this we keep changing perceptions.

“The mutual investment together with our broadcast and sponsorship partners and clubs is the basis for inspiring young girls and boys to follow the game and to dream of becoming professionals themselves.”

Football Queensland one step closer to gender parity

Football Queensland have released numbers for the 2023 year that show a steep rise in female participation across all age groups following the incredible Women’s World Cup held on home soil.

In 2023, the split for Football Queensland participation was set at 69.8% Male and 30.2% Female which represents a hefty increase from 25.5% participation in 2022. The federation have been adamant that the 50/50 gender parity goal can be achieved by the start of the 2027 season which matches Football Australia’s Gender Equality Action Plan.

In the 2023-2026 Football Queensland Strategic Plan, the federation recognised that they had to transform their Women and Girls Strategy by integrating it with FQ’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan and Schools Strategy to supercharge growth.

The plan mentioned that there will be new facilities in place for boys and girls teams built in Brisbane’s North which will deliver state-of-the-art playing fields, a clubhouse, and community spaces.

This ambition to fast track growth means that FQ are putting an emphasis on creating the best possible foundation for ongoing growth on their path to 50/50 participation. This consists of improving numbers in coaching, volunteering and refereeing for women and girls.

Quickly, the federation are seeing results in many different sectors of the women’s game, most recently announcing that there was an incredible 81.4% participation increase recorded at women and girls festivals and programs in 2023.

FQ also has an ongoing commitment to supporting the progression of female coaches which was seen in the 2023 success that resulted in a 28% increase in female coach numbers for the year.

The next step for Football Queensland is ensuring the up and coming talent in the women’s game is properly developed by making use of the FQ Academy QAS program. The program has been a major success and has produced players for Australia’s national teams, including eight players in the CommBank Matildas squad for the 2023 WWC.

The strategic plan key targets outlined that FQ are ensuring there will be at least 25 Advanced female technical directors and female technical staff in key roles across Queensland by 2026.

This drive to utilise the success of the 2023 WWC along with strategic planning and tactical investment in the women’s game has allowed the federation to see enormous growth so quickly.

They are well on their way to hitting important KPI’s, similar to the 50/50 gender parity by 2027 and 62,000 club based female participants by 2026 which signify the change in modern football.

NWSL signs Amazon as a retail and cloud tech partner

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) have confirmed a multi-year sponsorship with Amazon, making them the Exclusive Retail Sponsor of the NWSL and an extension of its current media deal.

This is an expansion of the previously announced multi-year rights deal that cemented Prime Video as the exclusive home for 27 NWSL matches each season at amazon.com/nwsl.

As part of the sponsorship, it will name Amazon as an official NWSL licensee. NWSL fans can now shop Amazon Fan Shop for hundreds of officially licensed NWSL products from Merch on Demand, Amazon’s print-on-demand service. Selection includes t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, and more, spanning every NWSL team, across men’s, women’s, and youth styles and sizes.

This Amazon collaboration will also boost the media team at the NWSL with the league migrating match content from previous seasons using Amazon Web Services (AWS). This cloud-based media archive will enable NWSL to easily transfer historical footage and surface highlights, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage to enhance fan engagement by building a more personalized connection between fans, the league, and the players they love.

Amazon Prime is also now the presenting partner for the NWSL’s Best XI Awards which recognises the best players by position on a monthly cadence throughout the season. For Prime, this represents an opportunity to bring fans closer to the players they love and joins them in celebrating the excellence of the athletes selected for this honour.

NWSL Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer Julie Haddon discussed the importance of expanding their existing deal with Amazon.

“We could not be more excited to continue to integrate Amazon more deeply into the NWSL family as they become our exclusive retail sponsor,” Haddon mentioned in a press release.

“Amazon’s global reach and customer-centric approach pairs perfectly with the NWSL’s fan-forward ethos. This partnership will not only amplify the NWSL’s fandom and growth but will also offer our fans an easy and accessible way to support their favourite teams and athletes.”

The ultimate goal is to increase the profile of the NWSL and serving customers’ growing interest in merchandise, content, and technical innovation.

The expansion is a fantastic move by the NWSL who are bringing the expertise of several Amazon businesses together in service to the league and its fans as they enter a period of incredible attendance and participation growth.

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