England fans to splash out on food, drink and TVs for Women’s World Cup final


Supermarkets, pubs and TV advertisers are preparing to enjoy a bumper weekend as football fans rush to celebrate the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday morning.

As many as 13.7 million people are expected to tune in when the Lionesses take on Spain in the highly anticipated fixture in Australia – the first time a senior England football team has appeared in a World Cup final since 1966.

However, as Sarina Wiegman’s squad steel themselves for the big match in Sydney, fans back home are set to provide an estimated £185m boost to the UK economy, according to a report from the savings website VoucherCodes.co.uk.

While 11.1 million people are expected to watch the final at home, a further 2.6 million will be heading to a pub, bar or restaurant, giving a significant boost to the hospitality sector. Retail spend is expected to reach £137.8m in the run-up to the big match, the Women’s World Cup 2023 spending report revealed, with fans rushing to stock up on food, drink and, in some cases, new TVs.

While many pubs will open early to screen the match, licencing laws mean most will not be able to serve up pints before 11am or even midday. The levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, has written to the leaders of all the councils in England asking them to do “everything they can to help pubs get open earlier on Sunday”.

However, that looks unlikely, given that pubs need to apply five days in advance for a notice to serve drink earlier, and parliament is not sitting, so cannot approve a temporary national order to extend licensing hours, as it did for last year’s platinum jubilee.

In the run-up to Sunday’s 11am kick-off, Waitrose stores have stocked up on extra bacon, eggs, sausage and English fizz, with searches on its website for brunch up 54%. Nathan Ansell, the customer director at Waitrose, said he expects Deliveroo and Uber Eats to be extra busy during the final.

“All the ingredients for a great brunch will be flying off the shelves quicker than a Lauren Hemp strike,” he added. “Customers are already looking to celebrate with cooked breakfasts – and some chilled fizz in readiness for a potential win.”

However, it’s not only food and drink Lionesses fans are splashing the cash on. England’s semi-final win over the co-hosts Australia prompted a 710% increase in the sales of England football merchandise online above average daily levels, according to data from Adobe Analytics.

TV sales are also on the rise, according to the online electrical retailer AO.com, with some football fans looking for an upgrade as the tournament has progressed. A spokesperson said it had seen a 77% increase in searches for new TVs in the past fortnight alone.

However, UK consumer spend is not expected to match the levels seen in December when England reached the quarter-finals of the men’s World Cup in Qatar, which gave a £1.8bn boost to the economy.

With ITV screening the final alongside the BBC, it is also set to be a super Sunday for TV advertisers, with a 3% increase compared with the last Women’s World Cup in 2019 proving that the early kick-off times have had little impact on the UK market, according to joint data from the Advertising Association and Warc.

James McDonald, the director of data, intelligence and forecasting at Warc, said: “The Lionesses’ performance to date will also have drawn late bookings from brands seeking to associate themselves with the success, particularly for Sunday’s final, for which spots will be sold at a premium.”

ITV’s coverage is sponsored by the software company Xero, while Google Pixel, Adidas and Weetabix have run campaigns during the tournament. Other brands spending include Sure for Women, Tourism Australia, P&G, Samsung and Vodafone.

“Ads such as ITV’s ‘The Pride Has Arrived’, which features real lionesses walking the streets of England, gatecrashing work meetings and interrupting people’s lives, encapsulate the feelings of pride and excitement across the country,” Stephen Woodford, the Advertising Association’s chief executive, said. “This ad hit the top-ranking of World Cup ads, according to System One.”