‘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


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: 18 Mar 2021 01:51
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23218

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