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Football Is - Just As Much - a Women's Game



April 28, 2019

Women's football globally, although with considerable delay, has finally started to cement its place. Affiliated clubs are on the rise, overall attendances as well.  Recent achievements strengthen the argument, such as the report that tickets for the final of the 2019 World Cup were sold out within 30 minutes.


Soaring Attendances in the Women's Game

When 60,739 fans took their seats at the Wanda Metropolitano, in Madrid, for Atletico de Madrid and Barcelona on the last 17th of March, it sent a powerful message: women's football got delayed, but it has arrived.

It should also be noted that TV audiences for the match peaked at 413,000. Throughout 2019 there are other demonstrations of the relevance of the sport. Juventus and Fiorentina played in front of 39,000 on the 24th of March and set a record in Italy. Again, in Spain, Athletic Bilbao had 48,212 on the 30th of January for a match against Atletico.


Sponsorship of the Women's Game is on the Rise

The acknowledgement of the strength secured by the women's game comes from powerful brands as well. Just recently, Barclays has agreed to acquire the naming rights to the Women's Super League. From next season onwards, the rebranded Barclays FA Women's Super League will have the possibility to offer a prize money pot of £500,000. A considerable rise in comparison to the previous amount: zero. The investment from Barclays is reported to be of around £10 million for a three-year partnership.

Adidas is another powerhouse brand that is giving recognition to women's football. For the 2019 World Cup in France, all players sponsored by Adidas on the winning team will be awarded the same financial bonus as their male peers.  The FIFA World Cup in France is on its way to set records for women and football. By having over 650,000 tickets being sold for the entire tournament, it looks well on its way to surpassing the 750,000-mark sold over the last edition of the Summer tournament in Canada.


The Turning Point - Women's World Cup in France 2019

The 2015 competition obtained commendable success. However, FIFA believes the 2019 edition in France will see a further boost, meaning that 1.3 million fans will attend matches while another 1 billion will tune in to the official broadcasters. Football's governing body considers the increased attention to the game pivotal to achieving its target of having 60 million girls and women playing the game by 2026.


Despite the delayed action on the Women's side of football, it would seem that brands, clubs, federations and audiences have started to pay attention to its potential and quality. Not going into the detail of the reasons why it was upheld from development but choosing to ignore the past to look towards a bright future. A future where women will be equally represented in football as men, with the same respect by media and audiences, hailing their performances and skill with a football.

Key Takeaways

•    Big brands such as Barclays and Adidas have started to expand their focus into the women’s side of the game.

•    FIFA has a strategy to increase the number of participants, and the FIFA World Cup 2019 is crucial to achieving the goals set out

•    The women’s game offers a unique opportunity for brands to associate themselves with the fastest growing sport in the world.



This article was written by Bruno Pantaleoni of SBI's Marketing Team. For further information please contact him at bruno.pantaleoni@sbibarcelona.com 


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