In a historic moment for women's football, Mary Earps, Manchester United and England goalkeeper, claims the 2023 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Her victory not only marks a personal triumph but also a significant milestone for women's football, with the consecutive win by a female footballer for the second year.
Earps' exceptional journey includes playing a key role in England's first Women's World Cup final, achieving a league record with 14 clean sheets in 22 games. Beyond the field, she has become a commercial force, advocating successfully for the public sale of England goalkeeper shirts, which sold out in minutes.
This achievement reflects the increasing recognition of women's sports, as Earps becomes the third consecutive woman to win the award. The trend signifies a broader shift in societal attitudes towards recognizing female athletes' skill, dedication, and accomplishments.
Women's football is experiencing remarkable growth, with the English Women's Super League seeing a 729% attendance surge from 2017 to 2022. The Women’s World Cup 2023 is projected to draw over 2 billion viewers, emphasizing the sport's rising popularity.
Mary Earps' journey from grassroots football to becoming the best women's goalkeeper in the world is a tale of resilience and dedication. Despite facing adversity, including a jersey controversy, Earps continues to make a significant impact on and off the field.
The growth of women's football is not only transforming the sports landscape but also creating new opportunities for revenue generation, media coverage, and societal change. Estimates predict a surge in women's football fans, potentially increasing revenue to between 552 and 686 million by 2033. Sponsorship deals have reached a value of $136.96 million in 2021.
Media coverage of women's football has tripled in recent years, constituting 15% of sports media coverage in 2022. This visibility is expected to rise to 20% by 2025, contributing to the sport's broader societal impact, challenging gender stereotypes, and promoting diversity and inclusion.
Mary Earps' journey from park football to global recognition serves as an inspiration. Her legacy in football continues to grow, emphasizing the transformative power of perseverance and dedication. Earps' impact on women's football is undeniable, contributing to the sport's promising future.