Sponsorship in women’s sport
2017 was a great year for British women’s sport. Achievements include reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Euros, reaching the final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, as well as winning the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. If we’re being honest, if we compare that to British men’s recent performance…well, there is no comparison really (what are the odds on England reaching the final or even semi-final of the FIFA World Cup 2018?).
Viewership is growing rapidly; consider some of these statistics. 87.4 million people tuned in to watch the Women’s Cricket World Cup held in the summer of 2017, and 149.5 million people watched the UEFA Women’s Euros. To put that into perspective, the Superbowl is the most-watched televised event in the US, and that attracted 103.4 million US viewers in February 2018.
Despite all of this, brands are holding back somewhat in sponsoring women’s sports. The numbers are definitely growing, but it’s nowhere near the level seen in men’s sport. Brands just don’t appear confident to invest heavily in women’s sport yet. This could be because many brands are measuring women’s sport using the same metrics as men’s sport, and there are some who believe this gives an inaccurate reflection of the effectiveness of sponsoring women’s sport.
To the brands already involved in women’s sport, it’s less about brand awareness and more about engagement. Many brands are still only interested in how many minutes of screen time their adverts and logos will get, but that’s just advertising rather than sponsorship. Sponsoring women’s sport may give brands less airtime, but the attention and engagement it does attract is much more effective and worthwhile, at least according to SSE, the sponsors of the Women’s FA Cup since 2015.
Those brands that got into the game (pun intended) early have reaped some real benefits. Men’s sport is a very saturated market, with little room for experimentation and little room to make a difference. With women’s sport, it’s different. Brands are able to make an impact on the industry as a whole. For example, for the 2017 Women’s FA Cup final, sponsors SSE negotiate a deal for children to attend the game for free, switching the focus from either “men” or “women” to families. It’s said that women’s family has more of a family feel than men’s football, which can often be more obviously male-oriented, and this allowed SSE to give back to the community in a way that would have been very difficult, if not impossible, in men’s sport.
Not only is this good for sporting communities, it’s also very good for SSE as a brand. This positive press is much more valuable than minutes/seconds of airtime during a game. SSE has received massive support from both consumers and staff alike as a result.
Team GB CEO Bill Sweeney says that “most brands are now thinking that if they’re going to invest in something, it needs to resonate with their values and it needs to ideally be purpose-driven in an authentic way”. It’s about values over exposure.
The same can be said for all partnerships, sponsorships, and advertising as a whole, not just in women’s sport. Consumers are more conscious when they’re making purchases. The values of a company have a larger impact than ever on a consumer’s decision to purchase, and brands are aware of this. By buying from a brand you’re buying into their ethos, and this is magnified when you’re partnering with or sponsoring a brand.
Here at Currency UK, we understand that sports sponsorships require a new approach. That’s why we only partner with brands who share our values and are working towards the same ideals as us. If you want to discuss sports, sponsorships, or anything currency related, get in touch with us at 020 7738 0777.