Adobe is the new Women’s FA Cup lead sponsor, taking over from previous partner Vitality for a three-year-long initial deal until July 2026.
Now titled the Adobe Women’s FA Cup, the firm wants to use its sponsorship to raise the standard of creative execution in women’s football sponsorship, which its VP for international marketing, Simon Morris, claims has not been high.
Morris tells Marketing Week: “More recently, we felt there are so many fantastic stories that don’t get told in women’s sport and felt that this was a perfect partnership and opportunity,” he says. It also joins up Adobe’s global marketing efforts, with the firm “building upon” its position as a sponsor of the US’s National Women’s Soccer League, which it began earlier this year.
Morris adds: “I don’t think there is enough creativity [in the game],” says
Creativity in women’s sport marketing has been lacking, according to many sponsorship experts. In October, Louise Johnson, the CEO of sports marketing agency Fuse, told Marketing Week there’s a “very big white space, creatively” for how brands engage with women’s sport, with a need to drive beyond the focus on parity stories.
According to Morris, this is something the FA “recognised” when discussing the partnership with Adobe. As part of its role as lead sponsor, Adobe is providing access to Adobe Express, it’s AI-driven content creation app, to all 460 clubs taking part in the tournament, as well as training on how to use it.
Attention levels for women’s football peak around big tournaments, such as the England team’s 2022 Euros win, and the recent World Cup. Adobe wants to build on the success the FA Cup has enjoyed in recent years. While the final sold out with a record 77,390 fans in attendance last season, Morris is eager for Adobe to help drive growth at the grassroots level and during the earlier round of the competition.
There are so many fantastic stories that don’t get told in women’s sport.
Simon Morris, Adobe
“We want to tell stories, right from the grassroots communities,” he adds. “And help the clubs express their stories on social, celebrate the players, celebrate the clubs, drive more interest in the game.”
Morris says social media will play a key role in activating the partnership. It’s launching an Instagram account today (22 November), and has plans to use TikTok “in the new year”.
“We want to help the FA,” says Morris – the association will be using Adobe’s tools “to ensure that they are creating some great content”. “Ultimately, we want to see these games sell out at all levels – not just for the cup final,” he adds.
‘Commercially sustainable’: Why it’s time for brands to start backing women’s sport beyond big tournaments“What’s lacking is that people just don’t get a chance to share their stories, and there are so many of them in sport,” he says. Offering a tangible experience of the lack of amplification for clubs further down the pyramid, Morris told Marketing Week about how when the 16-year-old daughter of his friend came on as a substitute to score twice in an FA Cup game for Luton Ladies, taking the club to the next round.
“You can see there’s this appetite and hunger to tell these stories, but they haven’t got the tools or channels to showcase them,” he adds.
“The Women’s FA Cup has grown to new heights over the last few years in parallel with the wider growth of the women’s game, and we’re delighted to have Adobe on board as we target the next phase of development for the competition,” says Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA’s director of women’s football.
“We share their passion for holistically celebrating the unique characteristics that make the Women’s FA Cup the most special and prestigious domestic cup competition in the world. With Adobe’s creative tools, used by some of the world’s biggest brands, we have a key opportunity to reach and engage new audiences for the women’s game,” she adds.