With brands seeking out opportunities in women’s football, Megan Cotter discusses how the game has become an interest to the world of sports marketing and business.
Last month, Visa announced they would match their activation budget they had for the FIFA Men’s World Cup 2018 around the Women’s Game, which includes the World Cup this summer. A huge movement for women’s football and a downright smart move by Visa. The amount Visa spend on the tournament is unknown, but it sure was a lot. This came after Visa became the first-ever sponsor of UEFA Women’s Football as part of their seven-year partnership across football.
Visa will support UEFA Women’s Football across all levels from grassroots to the Champions League which includes the marketing platform #WePlayStrong supported by advocates such as World Champion freestyler, Liv Cooke and Lyon player, Shanice van de Sanden. The platform was introduced as part of UEFA’s strategy to encourage more females to play football across its 55 national associations. This is undeniably a great achievement for sponsorship in women’s sport and especially, women’s football. Question is, will other sponsors make the same move?
Soon after, Barclays were named title sponsor of the FA Women’s Super League (WSL) until July 2022. The FA and Barclays will work together to increase the growth of women’s football at a grassroots level whereby there’ll be a large network of people delivering FA programmes to their local community of schools.
Beyond this, the partnership is introducing an annual prize fund for the league at a whopping £500,000 (nothing comparable to the men’s but it’ll sure make a difference). Not only are brands making offers, but the organisations are also understanding the value the game possesses.
But, why now? Why is women’s football suddenly becoming an interest to the world of sports marketing and business? Women’s football has always been the hand-me-down of the men’s game and it’s starting to finally catch up and make a name for itself.
Brands are waking up to the recognition of commercial opportunities and the open space this has for sponsorship. Attendance at games is increasing and recently, LaLiga saw a new record for fans at a women’s football game in Spain reaching 60,739 between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. As more spectators attend games and TV viewers increase, more sponsors are stepping up.
Hopefully, this will go beyond football and the growth in women’s sports sponsorship will only increase. But, for now, this is a new era for women’s football and it’s just in time for the World Cup.
Follow Megan on Twitter @megcotterX