With large swathes of the population taking to Twitter to declare that football had finally, definitively come home after fifty-six years of hurt, England’s Lionesses made history on Sunday evening by overcoming Germany 2-1 after extra time. A goal from Chloe Kelly turned the final of the Women’s European Championships definitively in the home side’s favour. Early reports suggest that it also provided a handy payday for numerous bettors who made this the biggest women’s competition so far from a betting point of view.
Bookmakers such as Ladbrokes and Coral have reported a more than 300% increase in betting on the competition compared with the 2017 tournament in the Netherlands. More widespread TV coverage for the women’s game certainly played some part in the heightened levels of betting interest, although the fact that England went into the tournament with a realistic shot of winning probably helped.
One interesting detail that has emerged since the final is the volume of betting from different areas. Unsurprisingly, England and Germany provided most of the bets with 46% of the total volume coming from the UK. A further 22% emanated from Germany, while the third country on the list was Brazil. A major home of football, both for men and for women, but notably not in Europe, Brazil was a surprise name on that list.
Additionally, some betting providers reported a marked increase in the number of bets from women, with Entain brands claiming a sixfold increase in betting from women compared with the 2017 final.
For many people, the big question will now be where things go from here. That’s a question that will be asked both in terms of women’s football and female participation in sports betting. There is often a strong sense that, despite efforts at “pinkwashing”, efforts to make football more accessible to a female crowd have been ill-judged and half-hearted. Anyone who has seen much in the way of advertising for betting companies will know that women generally appear to be little more than an afterthought on that front, too.
However, with something tangible to point to as a sign of organic interest in the women’s game, the Euro 2022 tournament in general, and its final in particular, could yet be a watershed moment for women’s football, and the excitement of the final a chance for bookmakers to reach out to a sector of the market that has often been underserved in the past.