What a shift in perception the Women’s World Cup has brought. British sports fans are warming to the game and the stats show it. And it’s not just die-hard supporters either. Brands are backing women’s football like never before.
At Liquid, our client Maple from Canada is the principal partner of Birmingham City Women, a leading Women’s Super League side.
We’re in the third of three years managing the sponsorship, which aims to inspire the next generation of female athletes to get active and demonstrates the value of maple syrup as a natural source of energy for professional sportswomen.
Maple from Canada is a trail-blazer and other brands have got on board with women’s football.
At the end of last season, only 36% of England’s top flight teams had a separate front-of-shirt sponsor for the women’s team as opposed to the men’s equivalent. Birmingham was one of just four clubs.
Now, notable partnerships include Liverpool FC Women’s iconic agreement with beauty brand Avon and banking giant Barclays has signed a £10 million agreement to become title sponsors of the women’s first tier.
Why? Because women’s football is thriving. The World Cup gave broadcasters record viewing figures to brag about. Nike is creating new, bespoke jerseys for its women’s teams rather than duplicating those of their male counterparts. An English national side reached a second World Cup semi-final in the space of 12 months. Progress has been made.
A UK record 11.7 million people tuned in for England’s defeat by champions USA – the highest peak television audience of the year so far and more than 50% of the available audience in the country.
One of Birmingham’s star players, Lucy Staniforth, was part of that England squad and Maple from Canada’s partnership has reaped as many rewards for the client as it has for the club. The calibre of talent Liquid gets to work (and cook!) with is incredible, and the sums that Maple from Canada is investing into the women’s game are substantial.
So, where does women’s football go from here?
Izzy Wray, consultant for the sports business group at Deloitte, says “the players have done their bit on the pitch, but now the time has come for rights holders and brands to shape the future of women’s football.”
At Liquid, we’ve seen the results that working in the sport can achieve and believe creative professionals should closely consider the opportunities presented by women’s football.
Ross Copping, senior account executive