‘More than just a game’: family and spectacle in marketing the England Women’s Super League

FIELDING-LLOYD, Beth, WOODHOUSE, Donna and SEQUERRA, Ruth (2018). ‘More than just a game’: family and spectacle in marketing the England Women’s Super League. Soccer & Society.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1080/14660970.2018.1541799
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    The Women’s Super League (WSL) is the first semi-professional women’s football league in England and the Football Association (FA) is central to reproducing its values and practices. This study employed observation at WSL matches and interviews with personnel involved in the League to identify how the FA conceptualised the WSL as a product in its first 3 years. The study found that the elite club game’s existing audience was alienated by the FA’s articulation of a heteronormative family target audience of young girls and their fathers. An overriding concern also appeared to be providing a commercialised matchday experience that goes beyond the game itself, situating the match at the periphery of broader entertainment. We argue that in positioning the WSL as a niche and new entertainment product, thereby eradicating the pre-WSL history of the elite club game, the FA has constructed women’s football as inherently distinct from, and inferior to, men’s football, negating any perceived threat to the wider gender order within the sport.

    Item Type: Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: 1699 Other Studies In Human Society; 1504 Commercial Services
    Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Sport and Exercise Science
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/14660970.2018.1541799
    SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
    Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
    Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2018 14:11
    Last Modified: 03 May 2020 01:18
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23218

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