Analytics, Engagement, Brand Strategy, Creative Efficacy, Media

The Matildas Effect: The Data That Drove the Most-Watched TV Event in Australian History

Posted 30 Aug 2023

New Forethought data reveals that a substantial shift in engagement from women was at the heart of what drove the most-watched TV event in Australian history. Proving once again, that opportunity space exists for content that captures this giant, underserved market - and why more businesses and brands should get behind it.

The marketing advisory, strategy and analytics firm recently published data showing that only 30% of women claimed to watch women’s sports before the World Cup, compared to 41% of men. A stark comparison to the 58% of women and 50% of men who said they were interested in watching once the Matildas took the field.

The Matildas’ phenomenal World Cup performance captured the hearts (and eyeballs) of a nation. Seven Network reported that 11.15 million people tuned into their broadcast of the semifinal against England1, making it the most-watched TV event in Australian history. In response to the findings, Forethought GM of Consulting Christina Tonkes said:

“The market is clearly there for women's sports. Their fanbase is widespread and highly engaged and has demonstrated firsthand the potential benefit for brands who get onboard.”

Not only have the Matildas galvanized a nation, but they've also shown that they are a commercial force to be reckoned with.

While the Women’s World Cup may be over, the Matildas Effect is still very much alive. According to Forethought data, 1 in 5 Australians intend to watch more women’s soccer as a result (21% for women, 23% for men). Their influence can also be noted in the Albanese government’s recent $200 million pledge towards women’s sport2, and perhaps in the most important statistic of all – a 170% increase in junior soccer sign-ups3. If the 2023 Women’s World Cup ever queried the power of content that engages both women and men alike, then 18.6 million Australians provided an answer1. When this typically, grossly underserved market is engaged, a sleeping giant is awoken with an ability to impact the country at a cultural level, not to mention a commercial one. From backyards to boardrooms, from pubs to parliament, stories that capture engagement from women are ready to be told, and millions of us are ready and waiting to hear them.

More Info:

N= 400, Australia-wide, 18+
Full data set available upon request.

1Noakes, Cameron. “Record-Breaking TV Numbers Revealed as FIFA Women’s World Cup Delivers ‘Huge Coup’ for Seven.” 7NEWS, 21 Aug. 2023.

2McIlroy, Tom. “The Matildas Effect: Albanese Gives Extra $200m for Women’s Sport.” Australian Financial Review, 18 Aug. 2023.

3Rachwani, Mostafa. “Role Models: How the Matildas Have ‘turbocharged’ Girls’ Football in Australia.” The Guardian, 12 Aug. 2023.