A Pitch for Women’s Soccer Fans

Women’s football/soccer has been in the spotlight this summer after the July 7 conclusion of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019, hosted by France and won by the U.S. team. Heightened global awareness for the women’s sport is increasingly leading to more endorsement opportunities for individual female athletes, more sponsorship revenue for women’s teams, and more broadcast play for women’s matches.

Recently announced sponsorship deals involving international football clubs—including Bayern München’s agreement with P&G, The Scottish Football Association’s with Mars, Lille Olympique’s with Boulanger Group, and Wrexham’s with Ifor Williams Trailers—have often included the women’s teams as well as the men’s, for instance.

This trend extends to licensed products. News in the past few months of kit deals involving leading suppliers of soccer uniforms and fan apparel typically has highlighted the involvement of the related women’s teams alongside the men’s. For example:

  • Nike extended its partnership with Paris Saint-Germain until 2032, with Nike continuing to supply both women and men, along with creating collaborations involving its Jordan brand. Nike also signed with Grenada, which had been with a revolving roster of suppliers, in a deal through 2023 that involves women and men as well as the club’s schools.
  • Kappa, an Italian sportswear label, signed a three-year agreement with Aston Villa, in partnership with Fanatics; the club had been with Under Armour and then briefly with Luke1977. The new deal encompasses technical (kits and training), fashion, and fan wear for the women’s and men’s teams, as well as junior and development teams.
  • Joma, a Spanish sports products company, partnered with TSG Hoffenheim, for playing, training, and casual sportswear, along with footwear for the club’s coaches and training staff. The deal included women’s and youth teams as well as men’s. Joma has alliances with a number of other European clubs as well.

As this small sampling of recent deals suggests, it has not only increasingly become the norm for women’s teams to be included in soccer kit and apparel contracts; youth and e-sports offshoots often fall under these broad alliances as well. Most of the announcements emphasize the licensee’s expertise not only in the technical details that help improve the level of play, but also in creating designs that appeal to fans.

Including women’s and youth teams alongside the better-known men’s teams is not a new phenomenon (although adding e-sports teams is). But the women’s game is gaining more traction among fans, sponsors, and retailers. As a result, marketing fan merchandise, as well as playing and training kits, for women’s teams has become not only commonplace but increasingly profitable.

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