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Lionesses’ online popularity climbs despite heartbreak in Women’s World Cup final

todayAugust 21, 2023 4

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Lionesses’ online popularity climbs despite heartbreak in Women’s World Cup final

The Lionesses may not have clinched the Women’s World Cup after losing to Spain in the final, but interest in England’s star players has not wavered as their online following continues to grow.

Goalkeeper Mary Earps has seen her following on video platform TikTok jump by over 175,000 since 3 August.

Meanwhile, other players have seen their followings increase gradually but significantly since the Lionesses’ 2022 win at the Euros.

Defender Lucy Bronze’s Instagram following has risen by almost 300,000 since the Euro 2022 tournament ended in August last year.

An England fan in Australia watching the World Cup final

Image:
An England fan in Australia watching the World Cup final

The growing visibility of the Lionesses comes as the team looks set to restart negotiations with the FA regarding bonus pay for players participating in the World Cup.

The discussions – where the England women’s team are reportedly seeking further compensation from the FA on top of what is received from FIFA for their success – was halted for the duration of the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

One of the most memorable performances of this year’s Women’s World Cup came from the Lionesses’ goalkeeper, Mary Earps.

Earps, who has been nicknamed ‘Mary Queen of Stops’, was awarded the Golden Glove prize for best goalkeeper by FIFA after conceding just four goals across the entire tournament.

The Manchester United player’s tournament success has been matched by a ballooning online following.

At the time of writing, Earps has over 870,000 followers on TikTok – the highest number of followers of any Lioness on the app. Just under three weeks previously, Earps’ following on the app stood at 692,000.

Dancing videos are among those posted by Lionesses during the tournament, which began in July. Credit: @maryearps1 via TikTok

Image:
Dancing videos were among those posted by Lionesses during the tournament. Pic: @maryearps1

She has over half a million more followers on the platform than she did last August following the Women’s Euros.

This surge in popularity may not come as a surprise to those familiar with the goalie’s presence on the app. Referred to as the ‘TikTok Queen’ by her fellow teammates, Earps has built up a reputation for her playful posts on her and her teammates’ accounts.

The term ‘Mary Earps’ was mentioned on X (formerly Twitter), TikTok and YouTube over 19,000 times on Sunday in the UK, according to data collected by the social listening platform TalkWalker.

The phrase

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The phrase ‘Mary Earps’ has been searched on X, TikTok and YouTube 47,000 over the past 13 months – spiking on Sunday. Credit: TalkWalker

This is the highest number of searches for her name in a single day over the past 13 months – likely prompted by her save of Spanish player Jennifer Hermanos’ penalty in the final.

The spike in popularity of the England goalkeeper follows the controversial decision from Nike not to manufacture her replica shirt for the Women’s World Cup, which Earps described as “hugely disappointing and very hurtful”.

Since the final, Nike has issued a further statement saying it is “working towards resolving the issue for future tournaments”.

Also receiving a boost online following the Women’s World Cup is the Lionesses’ captain, Millie Bright.

According to Google Trends data, Bright’s name was in the top 10 most-searched terms on Google in the UK on Saturday.

Similarly to her teammate Earps, mentions of Bright’s full name across X, TikTok and YouTube were at the highest they’ve been in the past 13 months in the lead-up to Sunday’s game.

Bright – likely focusing on captain duties – has refrained from posting as much on social media as some of her teammates during the tournament.

This clip shows Mary Earps and Millie Bright doing a TikTok challenge in which they have to guess the film only by the emojis shown - it has over 3 million views. Credit: @maryearps1 via TikTok

Image:
This clip shows Mary Earps and Millie Bright doing a TikTok challenge in which they have to guess the film only by the emojis shown – it has over three million views. Pic: @maryearps1

But she will sometimes appear in her teammates’ posts and her following on TikTok has reached around 300,000 – making her one of the most popular Lionesses on the platform.

The rise in online popularity for individual England players corresponds to increasing interest in the Lionesses as well as the wider women’s game as the team progressed towards the final.

Analysis of Google Trends data by the fashion retailer Boohoo found Google searches for ‘Lionesses kit’ in the lead-up to Sunday’s game increased by over 3,617% above average over the past 90 days. Kits bearing the name of Lauren Hemp, Millie Bright and Mary Earps were the most searched for, according to the analysis.

Separate data describes how sales of England merchandise jumped by over 700% above the daily average levels following England’s 3-1 win against Australia in the semi-finals last Wednesday, according to Adobe Analytics.

Elsewhere on social media, the Lionesses’ channels are enjoying a post-tournament boost.

The England TikTok account, which is the account shared by both the men’s and women’s England teams, saw its following jump up by 200,000 over the course of the World Cup.


The Data and Forensics team is a multi-skilled unit dedicated to providing transparent journalism from Sky News. We gather, analyse and visualise data to tell data-driven stories. We combine traditional reporting skills with advanced analysis of satellite images, social media and other open source information. Through multimedia storytelling we aim to better explain the world while also showing how our journalism is done.

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