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MBPT Spotlight: Women To World Cup Advertisers: It’s Not Just A Man’s World

Here’s a message to marketers planning to advertise in future FIFA World Cup telecasts—don’t ignore female viewers.

While men make up the majority of World Cup TV watchers, women are growing in numbers and this is an area marketers need to be cognizant of both next summer for the Women’s World Cup and in 2018 when the men’s games returns.

SheSpeaks, a company that helps Fortune 500 brands such as P&G, Pepsi, American Express, Citibank and L’Oreal, among others, connect with influencers, recently compiled some World Cup viewing data by polling 990 U.S. women over 18 that are part of its quarter-million socially active women’s network.

One of the key findings in the SheSpeaks data was that 42% of women watching the World Cup matches said advertisers were missing an opportunity to reach them. And 40% said the commercials in and around the World Cup telecasts are male-oriented.

Also, among the women polled, 54% say they would be watching at least some of the matches, with 19% saying they watch because they love soccer and 31% saying they watch because it’s fun and sociable.

Other SheSpeaks data:

• 40% of women watch the World Cup with their spouse, partner or kids; 22% watch with friends

• 46% of women watch at home on TV

• 16% watch at a bar or restaurant on TV

• 13% watch on TV at a friend’s house

• 21% of women share their World Cup interest with friends on social media, saying they post comments on Facebook and Twitter during the telecasts

• 22% get their World Cup information from general news sites

• 17% get their information from sports websites

• 13% specifically get their World Cup information from the FIFA website

Supporting the SheSpeaks data are the actual World Cup viewership numbers from Univision. Through 62 televised matches, the 2014 World Cup viewing audience on the network is pacing 43% ahead of the 2010 World Cup among all women over 18. Among women 18-34, viewership is up 26%, among women 18-49 it’s up 38% and among women 25-54 it’s up 44%. Overall, through all the matches heading into the final, Univision telecasts have averaged 1.2 million women. And the Brazil-Mexico match on June 17 drew 1.6 million women, compared to 1.5 million men.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC World Cup telecasts were also up about 39% among women 18-49 compared to 2010.

In an interview with The New York Times earlier this week, Jessica Rodriguez, executive VP for the Univision Agency, which oversees media planning for the company, said one commercial the network produced to promote viewership of the World Cup featured two men and a woman watching a soccer match in a bar. She said four years ago, that commercial would most likely have featured three men.

Marketers need to be equally cognizant of the female element of World Cup viewership going forward. And plans should already be underway for how marketers will advertise in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which begins with the first match in Edmonton, Canada on June 6.

Fox and Telemundo won the TV rights for the Men’s and Women’s World Cup matches between 2015 and 2022, outbidding ESPN/ABC and Univision. The 2015 Women’s World Cup will be held in six different Canadian cities next summer.

Sources said Fox was not planning to make a big push to sell World Cup inventory until after this year’s Men’s final on Sunday between Germany and Argentina, which will be televised on ABC. But both Fox and Telemundo have some pretty good sales tools to use—the viewer numbers from this year’s Men’s Cup on ESPN/ABC and Univision.

This year’s Men’s World Cup telecasts on ESPN and Univision have continuously broken viewership records as the matches headed toward Sunday’s championship, which will more than likely draw more viewers that the 2010 Men’s World Cup final on ABC that pulled in 15.5 million viewers.

The semifinal match on Tuesday won by Germany over Brazil drew 6.6 million viewers on ESPN, making it the largest audience to ever watch a semifinal World Cup match. However, that record was broken on Wednesday in the other semifinal when Argentina defeated The Netherlands and drew 6.8 million viewers.

With marketers these days loving to pour ad dollars into big sporting events, the World Cup has proven to be a month-long path to a large segment of avid sports fan consumers. And the growing interest among women makes both the men’s and women’s events a place for marketers to reach both.

The Men’s World Cup may not yet have 46% of its total audience female like the Super Bowl does, but women seem to be gaining interest and watching more. Marketers need to keep that in mind when deciding what brands to promote during the 2018 Men’s World Cup and what gender balance there should be in their commercials.

As for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, marketers wanting to target women should be giving Fox Sports and Telemundo sales folks a ring shortly, if they haven’t already.