It’s been about three weeks since the end of the Women’s World Cup, an event that saw a surge in viewership and attendance numbers for just about every facet of the women’s game.
The World Cup was a monumental event that garnered a lot of attention and excitement for women’s football. The England Lionesses semi-final against the USA is the most-viewed TV event of 2019 so far in the United Kingdom with 11.7 million viewers and the WSL is looking to build on that momentum.
Unfortunately, Everton has not been capitalizing on this as much as other teams in the WSL, especially when it came to their social media campaign, or perhaps lack thereof.
Everton Ladies manager Willie Kirk tweeted on the first day of the Women’s World Cup that the tournament will “further accelerate” growth and development for women’s football:
Women’s football has been growing so quickly over the last few years, and this World Cup is only going to further accelerate that growth and development— Willie Kirk (@WillieKirk) June 7, 2019
Good Luck to all the countries, coaches, and players that are taking part in what will be a fantastic tournament #WWC2019 pic.twitter.com/ZtTMUpyPZ3
Unlike Kirk, Everton didn’t mention the World Cup on any of their social media channels on the first day of the tournament.
In fact, during the entire event, Everton’s main Twitter account only tweeted about the Women’s World Cup once on 2 July, five days away from the final. Let’s make some comparisons - for the duration of the tournament, Everton’s main Twitter account mentioned the World Cup as much as they mentioned National Selfie Day. The club also found the time to tweet about Icelandic National Day, Portugal Day, and the Glastonbury Music Festival as much as they tweeted about the World Cup. Everton tweeted twice as much about National Fishing Go Fishing Day than they did about the largest and most successful women’s football tournament ever.
Everton Ladies’ Twitter account did only slightly better, tweeting about the World Cup only six times. The tournament started June 7th but Everton Ladies didn’t tweet about it until June 11th when they wished Netherlands midfielder Inessa Kaagman good luck and not again until June 27th, when they mentioned the Lionesses for the first time during the tournament. For comparison, WSL teams like Manchester City and Chelsea posted on social media about the World Cup on average more than six times a day. For instance, in just a two day period during the tournament between June 23 & 24, Man City tweeted about the World Cup 16 times on their shared men’s and women’s account. Some of the smaller WSL teams like Birmingham mentioned the World Cup three or four times a day.
Tweets about Women's World Cup in the last 2 days:— Rachel Rose Gold (@RachelRoseGold_) June 24, 2019
Chelsea Women: 20
Man City: 16
Arsenal Women: 9
Birmingham Women: 7
Man United Women: 6
Everton Ladies: ZERO #FIFAWWC
The Everton Ladies Instagram account didn’t post once about the Women’s World Cup and didn’t post at all from May 11th to July 4th. The Toffees started out the tournament with one player in the World Cup but had acquired a second by the end, Netherlands defender Kika van Es, and has since obtained French Midfielder Maeva Clemaron. The Lionesses contain five former Everton players and are coached by former Everton player, Phil Neville. Current Blues Chloe Kelly and Gabby George have received senior calls ups by England and are continuously fighting to get back into the squad.
Not to mention that many former Everton players were major fans of the tournament, including Tim Cahill, who was closely following the Matildas. Even though he was heartbroken when they were eliminated from the tournament, Cahill continued to watch and cheer other teams on. He was even able to attend the final as a FIFA Legend and even got a pic with USA player Carli Lloyd:
Nothing but love for this rock star @CarliLloyd @FIFAWWC WINNER pic.twitter.com/4rCiwxiOtA— TIM CAHILL (@Tim_Cahill) July 8, 2019
Former Everton goalie Rachel Brown-Finnis provided commentary to BBC 5LiveSport Radio at the World Cup but received no mention from her former club:
On commentary duty in @5liveSport this evening for the @Lionesses v Norway at the @FIFAWWC in Le Havre...@vksparks @rach_brown1 @emmahayes1 #bbcfootball pic.twitter.com/f7LQdRK6pg— Gary Flintoff (@GaryFlintoff) June 27, 2019
Former Everton player Samuel Eto’o watched Cameroon play England in the Women’s World Cup and spoke out about more investment for his country’s women’s team. He told BBC Sport that he spoke with Fecafoot’s president Seidou Mbombo Njoya about increasing support to the women’s team:
”One thing we saw is there is room for improvement. But for this to happen, we need to restructure the way women’s football is run in Cameroon. We have to organise a good and competitive championship.”
”It is possible to have a very good women’s league in Cameroon. All that we need is good organisation and a concerted effort from administrators.”
Eto’o is serious about improving women’s football and knows that the people in charge need to have metrics, specific goals, and a plan in place about how to increase resources given to women’s football. Let’s hope that Everton gets the message and steps up their marketing game for the women’s team to help increase support for their hardworking players.
The entire objective of capturing some of the momentum from the World Cup was to boost ticket sales and viewership for the Women’s Super League (WSL) that kicks off in just over a month.
How is this general apathy for the Blues ladies’ team affecting season ticket sales for Everton Ladies? Last season, Everton Ladies had not only the lowest attendance of the WSL but also had lower attendance rates than several second tier teams.
We’ll have more in Part Two of our series on what Everton is doing to build on World Cup momentum, which for now appears to be precious little.