Women's football set to fuel interest from brands

Women's football could see a surge of interest from brands as Uefa launches a campaign to drive participation, appreciation and revenue in the sport.

Mastercard: activity includes a table-football tournament using a bespoke table
Mastercard: activity includes a table-football tournament using a bespoke table

Champions League sponsor Mastercard is for the first time activating around the women’s final, which takes place tonight (1 June) in Cardiff – two days before the men’s final.

The activity includes a table-football tournament in the fan zone, which uses a bespoke table featuring female figurines, and an online film starring female footballers ranging from professionals to youth players. Both were created by McCann Worldgroup.

It was created for McCann by creative directors Matt Crabtree and Simon Hepton, copywriter Robin Gordon and art director Ella Monti.

Nicola Grant, head of marketing at Mastercard UK and Ireland, said the work reflects the fact that the women’s game had "really blossomed" in recent years and presented "an opportunity for us to trailblaze and be innovative".

Adrian Botan, global executive creative director at McCann Worldgroup, said women’s football was a strong brand fit for Mastercard because it lacked the negative connotations sometimes linked to the men’s game. "We were looking for a blue ocean where no other sponsor is playing," he said. "We know we can own this positive part of football."

Meanwhile, Uefa today kicks off "#WePlayStrong", its first pan-European campaign for women’s football. A 90-second ad, by FCB Inferno, launched online on Wednesday and will be shown on TV for the first time during the final on Eurosport.

Peter Willems, head of marketing activities and sponsorship at Uefa, said the campaign was about getting girls to continue playing football as they enter their teens, as well as progressing the image and status of the sport. Another aim is to attract more commercial partners. 

To support the second aim, Uefa will launch its first sponsorship package covering all women’s events starting from the 2018/19 season. These include the Champions League and the European Championship.

Willems said the activity was launched now because "everything was coming together" – more spectator interest, better evidence of the link between participation and consumption, and a growing number of enquiries from brands. He added: "More and more companies are contacting us to say: what are you doing with women’s football, how can we be part of this?"

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