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Women’s sport captures the interest of major brands worldwide

August 31, 2022

If anyone at SQN understands the importance of Google becoming a global women’s basketball partner, it’s our resident basketball aficionado, Candela Hermida. The Reading Rockets Women’s captain offers her view on the stature of this new partnership. 

Yesterday women’s basketball received a massive boost as Google announced it will become FIBA’s first-ever Global Partner of Women’s Basketball and the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. A slam dunk for female sport!  

Brands shouldn’t invest in women’s sports just because it’s the right thing to do. Today it’s important to recognize that the future is female. This slogan has been around for decades and still rings true. Women’s sport is on the rise across Europe and around the world as it continues to grow in size, viewership and pay distribution.  

The goal of almost all brands when securing a sport sponsorship is to reach and engage with the target audience of that sport. Ultimately, the brands that bring their advertising muscle (read: money) and creativity will give themselves the best chance of doing this. 

Currently, investing in women’s sports is often seen as simply “doing the right thing.” That thinking needs to change because there are dozens of better, more measurable reasons that brands need to consider.  

But where are the switches to raise investment in sponsorship? This year’s UEFA Women’s EURO competition marked a turning point in terms of media coverage. Today, women’s sport is a valuable business and the country’s leading companies are slowly waking up to this. These are assets with a very high margin for growth, and that also implies a type of sponsorship that is different from the mainstream.  

One is corporate social responsibility (CSR), where equality is one of the keys for many companies such as Google, for example. The other is about crossing new sectors and brands that have never before entered sponsorship, such as Dolce & Gabanna, since “a woman can play or watch football and be very feminine and love fashion”. 

In an increasingly globalised world and with exposure through social media and digital platforms on the rise, the visibility of female sporting professionals is growing. From a different connection between athletes and millennials to a spokesperson for the social problems of everyday life, the reasons why brands are beginning to rewrite the sponsorship script are becoming more important every year. Women are a field of innovation in the world of sport, just like eSports or influencer marketing.  

Women’s sport continues to disrupt an existing landscape that has long been dominated by male-driven sports. Even though some valuation models still make it difficult for brands to fully grasp the unexploited treasure that women’s sport offers. 

If a brand hasn’t capitalized on opportunities in the space yet, it’s not too late. There are new and exciting possibilities on the table. Companies that want to customise partnerships and differentiate their brand from others have a clean slate to curate exactly what they want. Traditionally, CSR has been largely detached from business and strategy, but women’s sports partnerships allow brands to connect CSR and strategic business initiatives in a new way. 

Women’s sport properties are building a different purpose-driven business model, and it’s not just about gender equality. Organisations like FIBA are leveraging a new sponsorship model that raises much-needed revenue for the sport itself. Female athletes are finding their voices, making a difference, and creating meaningful change. 

This unique combination of commercial and corporate responsibility makes women’s sport an entirely different game, requiring a fresh approach we can build together. In the current moment, we’ve answered the question of “Why invest in women’s sport?” once and for all. It’s time to show brands how to invest more.  

The potential value is immense. Now, it’s time to go capture it! 

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