Women's football: One in five adults support sport, as survey finds 60% rise in fans

England v Scotland
England and Scotland both qualified for 2019's Women's World Cup in France

Almost one in five adults in the United Kingdom would call themselves a women's football fan, a survey conducted by analysts Nielsen Sports has found.

That represented a 60% increase in the past two years, while the survey also found a rise in occasions where women's football is discussed by fans in pubs.

Of the 29,252 adults questioned in the UK for the study, 19% called themselves a supporter, up from 15% last year.

There was also a rise in fans listening to the women's game on the radio.

Television remained the main way that fans informed themselves about the sport, but 33% of women's football fans said they use the radio for their sports news in 2019, compared to 24% in 2018.

Nielsen also found that fans of the women's game were more likely than supporters of men's teams to have disposable income.

"Our analysis shows that support for women's football in the UK is continuing to grow and quickly," Nielsen Sports' Lynsey Douglas said.

"Women's football fans are more likely than followers of the men's game to have families and to be key decision-makers when it comes to making purchases for the family."

The data was released after a record-breaking weekend for the Women's Super League - England's top flight - with more than 70,000 people turning up to watch the six top-flight matches on Sunday.

A league-record crowd of 38,262 saw Arsenal's 2-0 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while Anfield hosted its first WSL fixture as 23,500 fans saw Everton beat Liverpool in the Merseyside derby.

Chelsea's home win over Manchester United at their usual Kingsmeadow ground also saw a record broken, as the 4,790 sell-out was the highest for a WSL game held at a non-Premier League stadium.

WSL attendances are up more than four-fold since 2018-19 on average so far, after a record-breaking 28.1m people watched BBC coverage of this summer's Women's World Cup on television and online.

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC in 2019, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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