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Why Brands are Seeing Value in Women's Football Sponsorship

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Dorothy Calba Bio

With the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup kicking off on 20 July, there is a lot of buzz about the current and future advancements in women’s football. Attendance and fan engagement continue to increase, and sponsors are taking notice of the opportunities this provides them. The current rate of growth as well as the obstacles the game still faces provide key opportunities for sponsors to get in at the ground floor of investment and serve as a catalyst for the development of the women’s game. In addition, the unique make-up of the women’s football fandom, as well as the unique sponsorship category and price point opportunities in women’s football sponsorship, provide sponsors the avenue to reach new consumers and better the perception of their brand.

Women’s football match attendance is growing and investment is helping increase consistency

For starters, brands are seeing opportunity in the expanding attendance and viewership of women’s football matches. While women’s matches still draw less attendance on average than men’s leagues, the attendance and viewership of women’s games have grown substantially in recent years. In 2022 alone, multiple women’s attendance records were set both on the international and the club football stage, including 92,000 fans that watched Barcelona take on Wolfsburg in the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finals and 87,000 fans that watched England and Germany face off in the Women’s UEFA European Championship final.

The last three World Cups have seen the highest attended women’s game reach above 70% of the attendance at the highest attended men’s games

Investment enables commercial partners to get their brands in front of this rapidly expanding fan base, but the investment will also help women’s football continue to develop and push towards the type of consistently high attendance already seen in the men’s game.

Womens Football Sponsorship Chart 1.svgWomen’s football fans are highly engaged, offering opportunity for sponsoring brands

Investment in women’s football also allows brands to reach a unique fan base that is heavily engaged, especially online. While the size of men’s football fandoms are often larger than those of women’s teams, women’s football fans are more heavily engaged with their teams online. Many women’s sports fans were for a long time unable to access coverage of their teams on traditional broadcast channels and thus have migrated a lot of their fandom online. Fans want to engage directly with their teams and top players online, both through match coverage and through personalised coverage of the players’ lives both on and off the pitch. This level of engagement can be seen in Euromonitor’s social media data as it corresponds to the top women’s and men’s football leagues in the US.

The men’s league has more TikTok followers on average, but the average engagement rate per follow of the women’s league was more than double that of the MLS in 2022

Source: Euromonitor International

Engaging with this unique subset of fans, especially online, can let these fans know that the sponsoring brands align with their values of supporting women’s sport and can allow brands to reach consumers that are returning consistently to the same content channels, thus strengthening relationships with those consumers.

Womens Football Sponsorship Chart 2.svgOpportunities for sponsoring brands exist in unique areas

Opportunity also exists for women’s football sponsorship in unique categories. The difference in sponsorship categories, as well as sponsorship cost, between the men’s and women’s game offers opportunities for more brands to reach sports fans. While crossover exists in many categories, there are types of companies that have a strong presence in men’s sponsorship that have much room for expansion on the women’s side, and vice versa. Categories like soft drinks and alcoholic drinks feature in the top 10 sponsorship categories on the men's side in terms of frequency of deals. In the women's game these categories are less prevalent and therefore reflect a fast-ripening opportunity for forward-thinking brands. In addition, the relatively lower upfront cost of women’s football sponsorship, especially in domestic leagues, when compared to men’s offers opportunity for sponsorship to smaller and more local companies.

Brands, teams and fans can all benefit from sustained sponsorship of women’s football. This investment will allow the quality of the game to continue to grow alongside the growth in number of fans. The quality of women’s football play is sure to be on display in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and sponsors in this space are communicating to fans worldwide that they had a role in supporting their favourite players and the advancement of women’s sport more broadly.

Learn more about Sponsorship Opportunities in Women’s Football in our report, Sponsorship in Women’s Football.


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