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The Impact Brand Sponsorships Have on Women’s Sports

14/09/2021

Currently, only 0.4% of sponsorship dollars are going to women’s sports and female athletes. Women’s sport is one of the biggest sponsorship opportunities for brands, it enables brands to engage with new audiences and position themselves as modern and progressive yet many companies are clearly still missing an opportunity.  We have identified some brands that are embracing this sponsorship opportunity and in turn supporting the growth and uptake of sports for girls and women globally.

Sky Ireland – FAI

In 2019, FIFA stated that more than 1 billion people watched the FIFA Women’s World Cup, making it the second most watched soccer match in U.S. history. Women’s sport is set to generate more than £1 billion per year by 2030 and women’s football is the fastest growing sport in many countries (latana.com, 2021).

A monumental partnership between Sky and the FAI was announced last week which sees Sky become the first-ever standalone primary partner of the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team. This four-year partnership will see the team through both the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and the 2025 UEFA Women’s Championship.

Sky aim to use this partnership to celebrate the squad and their achievements both on and off the pitch. Following the FAI’s recent announcement of equal pay for both of their national teams, Sky look forward to doing everything they can to support them over the coming years. Sky are supporting the FAI’s vision to help grow the women’s game and encourage all generations to get involved in the sport, be it as players, coaches or administrators.

Mastercard – World Rugby

In June, Mastercard announced a global partnership with Women in Rugby. This five-year partnership aims to accelerate the development of Women in Rugby. Through this partnership, Mastercard will become the founding partners of three major series

  • The first Global Partner of WXV – the first 15s women’s tournament in the history of women’s rugby, due to start in 2023.
  • The founding Global Partner of World Rugby’s Women in Rugby programme, focusing mainly on growing youth participation and raising the global profile of the women’s global competitions and calendar.
  • The first Worldwide Partner for Rugby World Cup 2021 and Rugby World Cup 2025, as Preferred Card for both tournaments.

In addition to the partnership, World Rugby has launched its new Women in Rugby Team Powered marketing campaign, encouraging girls and women to participate in and watch the sport.Mastercard will also incorporate rugby-specific content for their ongoing campaign ‘Girls4Tech’ – supporting their commitment to gender equality.

HelloFresh – WNBA

HelloFresh, the world’s leading meal kit company, announced in June a partnership with WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty to become the official meal kit of both teams. This is the company’s first-ever sports sponsorship in its 10 year history. The partnership will incorporate digital marketing, cross-promotion, in-arena signage, and special deals and giveaways for fans of both WNBA teams.

Nike – What are girls made of?

This Russian Nike ad adds a modern twist to one of Russia’s most recognisable and loved children’s songs. Through this campaign, Nike redefine what girls are made of – from “flowers”, “marmalade” and “gossip” to “self-dedication”, “perseverance” and “skill” all while female athletes box, dance and show-off their strength and character around the young singer.

The ad closes with the young girl on the football pitch, preparing to take a shot before the words “You’re made of what you do “ and “Believe in more” flash on the screen.

Nike has been at the forefront of sports sponsorship for both men and women for many years. “Nike’s commitment is to continue our leading support of competitive athletes, invest in the next generation at the grassroots level and deliver more innovative and compelling product design for women.” says NIKE, Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Mark Parker.

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