Women’s Football – Marketing the Opportunity


England’s World Cup Success Inspires Growth In Women’s Football Participation (thefa.com, 2019)

Growing at a fast pace with increased participation, Women’s football is now a globally recognised sport and one which is now able to provide valuable and sustained marketing opportunity.

In order for the major sports brands to seize the initiative, they must provide the customer with the right product, at the right time, price and place. A study into the value of a sports brand (Bouchet, Hillairet and Bodet, 2013) declared “A brand truly becomes a brand with time when its offers finally meet customers’ needs and expectations”.

Women`s world cup france 2019 (dreamstime.com, 2019)



Following the success of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, are many of the major brands being inconsistent by failing to continually meet these requirements and therefore, are they missing out on valuable marketing opportunities and continued growth?


Main Flow Mainstream Direction (Pixabay, 2020)


‘Breaking through the mainstream’, capturing a new audience and increasing the awareness of the game have until recently, all been major barriers within women’s football.


The anticipation of a major tournament can help provide a springboard for major investment and provide the opportunity to engage with the customer at the right place and right time. A brand can anticipate and capture the customer mood simply by grasping significant moments, as distinguished by Weiss (2019).

Last summers World Cup was ‘record breaking with over 1 billion viewers’ with many brands looking to market a new audience. Head & Shoulders ‘3 lines’ campaign, inspired fans to support the England Women’s Football Team by being creative with their own hair styles and Lucozade Sport launched two limited edition bottles as part of it’s £2 million sponsorship deal with the England Team featuring two of the players, Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris.

Footballers feature on Lucozade bottles for the first time in World Cup Lioness promo (McCarthy, 2019)

Further sponsorship deals were provided by Visa (full sponsorship to the World Cup) and Barclays who stepped in to sponsor the Women’s Super League from this season in a deal seen to be “the biggest ever investment in UK women’s sport by a brand”.

In an effort to enhance the game further, UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) launched a strategy with the aim to double the number of female players in Europe by 2024, a campaign which followed an ‘initiative’ carried out in 2017 named Together #WePlayStrong which was aimed at ‘transforming perceptions of women’s football and encouraging girls to take up and continue playing the game’.

FA Women’s Super League fixtures for the 2018-19 Season (Asa, 2018)

With the Women’s Super League now attracting a much wider audience and other domestic leagues and competitions gaining more coverage, are we witnessing a continued growth of sponsorship deals and better resources to enable further opportunity?

Creative thinking, introducing new concepts and engaging with your audience may well bring continued success however, will the major sports brands continue to capitalise on the big events, gain valuable promotion and maximise their profits or, do more actually need to wake up to the marketing opportunities that Women’s football can offer.


Better Retailing. (2019) Lucozade Sport launches new Lionesses packs. Available at: https://www.betterretailing.com/products/lrs/lucozade-sport-launches-new-lionesses-packs/ (Accessed: 18 December 2019).

Carp,S. (2019) models’:Inside Visa’s game-changing Women’s World Cup plans. Available at: https://www.sportspromedia.com/interviews/womens-world-cup-fifa-visa-sponsorship-change-the-game-interview (Accessed: 28 December 2019).

Garry,T. (2019) Women’s Super League: Barclays agree multi-million sponsorship deal. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47605807 (Accessed: 15 January 2020).

Goal.com. (2019) Get creative and Join the Pride – Back England’s Lionesses with 3 Lines. Available at: https://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/get-creative-and-join-the-pride-back-englands-lionesses-with/1cssisdl6kkvb1tz6wuttm94k7 (Accessed: 18 December 2019).

Quilter, J. (2019) How Brands and marketers can take advantage of the growing popularity of women’s football during the Women’s World Cup. Available at: https://marketing.twitter.com/emea/en_gb/insights/womens-world-cup-a-potential-scoring-opportunity-for-brands (Accessed: 11 February 2020).

Rogers, C. (2019) Women’s football must value match days to capitalise on post-World Cup buzz. Available at: https://www.marketingweek.com/womens-football-sponsorship/ (Accessed: 10 February 2020).

Thefa.com. (no date) An Introduction to the FA’s Women’s Leagues and Competitions. Available at: http://www.thefa.com/news/2018/jul/02/fa-womens-leagues-competitions-summary-2019-20 9Accessed: 7 November 2019).

Uefa.com. (2017) UEFA launches Together #WePlayStrong. Available at: https://www.uefa.com/womenschampionsleague/news/023a-0e16861e842c-33d79b3891a0-1000–uefa-launches-together-weplaystrong/ (Accessed: 15 January 2020).

Uefa.com. (2019) #Time for Action. Available at: https://www.uefa.com/MultimediaFiles/Download/uefaorg/Womensfootball/02/60/51/38/2605138_DOWNLOAD.pdf (Accessed: 18 December 2019).

Worldfootball.net. (2019) Women Women’s Super League 2019/2020 Available at: https://www.worldfootball.net/competition/eng-frauen-womens-super-league/ (Accessed: 21 February 2020).

Image References

Asa. (2018) FA Women’s Super League fixtures for the 2018-2019 Season. Available at: https://www.womenssoccerunited.com/fa-womens-super-league-fixtures-for-the-2018-19-season/ (Accessed 21 February 2020).

Dreamstime.com. (2019) Women’s world cup france 2019. Available at: https://www.dreamstime.com/women-s-world-cup-france-fifa-women-s-world-cup-will-be-eighth-edition-fifa-women-s-world-cup-quadrennial-image139136489 (Accessed 21 February 2020).

McCarthy. J. (2019) Footballers feature on Lucozade bottles for the first time in World Cup Lioness promo. Available at: https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/05/21/footballers-feature-lucozade-bottles-the-first-time-world-cup-lionness-promo (Accessed: 17 February 2020).

Pixabay. (2020) Main Flow Mainstream Direction. Available at: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/main-flow-mainstream-direction-2094389/ (Accessed: 11 February 2020).

Thefa.com. (2019) England’s World Cup Success Inspires Growth In Women’s Football Participation. Available at: http://www.thefa.com/news/2019/nov/05/womens-participation-growth-world-cup-051119 (Accessed: 16 February 2020).