Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

One Direction for women’s football

By Brad Rees, CEO, Mediacells

  • 7k bluebadge influencers tweeted about the Lionesses’ win over Germany
  • Royals and Comedians mingle in the Top 5 most engaged
  • Most engaging posts from One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan
  • Boris Johnson (#16) is the most engaging politician,
  • Closely followed by Scottish First Minister Nichola Sturgeon (#17).
  • 10 Lionesses* in the Top 100

Women’s football fan engagement became a mass market story after England’s win against Germany last Sunday.

The record-breaking 87,000 fans that packed out Wembley stadium for the final and the 17.4 million viewers who watched the final on the BBC are the two key stats that the world and her granny now know.

A lesser-known stat is that 17.8 million fans in Germany’s ARD TV channel tuned in to make the Wembley spectacle the most popular women’s football match in history.

The 24-hour ticket sell-out of England v USA tickets is the latest indicator that Women’s football is displaying unprecedented growing gains after the FA’s website crashed with a reported 45,000 fans in the queue to get tickets for the October game.

The game is subject to England qualifying for the 2023 World Cup next month which is looking highly likely.

Against this impressive backdrop comes the eyewatering social media stats, so optically explosive that quoting any of them would be unsuitable for the informed New Digital Age audience.

Some of the social media reach numbers out there estimate exposure at many more times the volume of the actual global population, which can’t be right.  

Engagement is always a more sensible way to navigate the moody social media sensationalism of inaccurate tot-ups.

That’s why Mediacells decided to benchmark the bluebadge (blueticks) Twitter accounts by retweets and likes to figure out which celebrities, royals, sportsfolk, politicians and YouTubers engaged the most over the Wembley Women’s Euro 2022 final.

We started from the pre-match wellwishers through to the post-match euphoria of the Lioness victory over Die Nationalelf and up until the FA website crashed on Wednesday, an indicator in itself of the rapid acceleration of women’s football as a mass market sport.

Out of 7,000 bluebadge influencers who tweeted about the #WEuro2022 final – the most engaging posts were supplied by One Direction popsters Louis Tomlinson (150k retweets and likes) and Niall Horan (65k).

Jetsetter Louis, who has just launched a new clothing brand, posted his ‘massive congratulations’ after he caught up with the highlights because he was flying during the game.

On the morning of the big day the Duke of Cambridge and his daughter posted a good luck video message to the Lionesses, which attracted 1.7m views and was the fourth most engaging tweet.

Close behind the Duke was comedian and wannabe goalkeeper Miranda Hart who was reduced to tears and was “glad there are 7 year olds watching this who wanted (sic) to be a goalkeeper like I did! But didn’t think it was ‘appropriate’ or ‘allowed’ to voice it.”

UK politicians slogged it out with rallying tweets from Labour’s Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner and Jeremy Corbyn – but it was outgoing PM Boris Johnson (#16) who trumped the MPs with a folksy post portraying himself and his two youngest kids ‘gripped here watching the Lionesses’, twenty minutes into the game.

The PM was hotly pursued by Scottish First Minister Nichola Sturgeon (#17), who added a more female-focused tone when she tweeted, “just goes to show when you want something done ask the women!”

Meanwhile ten high profile Lionesses, including captain Leah Williamson, top scorer Ellen White, Chelsea + England forward Fran Kirby and twice-named young player of the year Beth Mead used the winning platform to raise awareness of the shocking stat that only 63% of girls can play football in PE.

The open letter to the two UK prime ministerial hopefuls attracted 200k engagements from the Lionesses which only reveals the tip of the iceberg.

The other 13 players in the squad who didn’t make it into the Top 100 were probably too busy partying, crowd-surging FA press conferences and generally joining in the joy and merriment which will now follow Brand Lioness globally.

Top 10 Bluebadge InfluencersEngagements per post
1.  Louis Tomlinson ^ Pop star156,683
2. Niall Horan ^ Pop star64,679
3. SP ???????? ^ Pop star46,589
4. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ^ Royal46,182
5.  Miranda Hart ^ Comedian44,749
6.  ksi ^ YouTuber41,512
7.  Declan Rice ^ English Footballer39,230
8.  Shania Twain ???????????? ^ Pop star39,216
9.  Harry Kane ^ English Footballer33,085
10.  Phil Foden ^ English Footballer31,058

Link: Top 100  ‘Bluebadge’ Twitter Engagement: UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 final

* Fran Kirby (#19); Leah Williamson (#22); Ellen White (#29); Beth Mead (#34); Bethany England (#48); Jess Carter (#72) Alex Greenwood (#74) Toni Duggan (#82); Lotte (#95); Rachel Daly (#98)


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