Sky Sports teams up with Visa to launch new Women’s World Cup programme: Women’s World Cup 2019 blog

Welcome to Marketing Week’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup blog, a chance to catch up on all the latest brand, marketing and sponsorship news around the tournament.

14 June – Sky Sports teams up with Visa to launch new weekly Women’s World Cup programme

Sky Sports is teaming up with Visa in a bid to drive conversation and engagement around the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a brand new weekly show.

As part of the partnership the two companies have launched a ‘France 2019 Weekly Roundup’, which will be available on demand every Friday for the next four weeks.

The show will be presented by sports figure and Sky presenter Laura Woods and features sporting guests Faye White, England’s longest serving skipper, and former Lioness Izzy Christiansen.

Sky Sports says the programme is designed to both celebrate and accelerate engagement with women’s football in the UK while helping to build a breakthrough moment for the tournament.

To promote the show, Visa is broadcasting a 30-second spot which will air across Sky Media’s portfolio, featuring Laura Woods discussing how the programme will go behind the scenes in France to preview and review the tournament, giving viewers exclusive additional insight.

“We are really excited to have a partner like Visa supporting women’s sport. The partnership between Sky and Visa highlights the ever-growing interest in women’s football ahead of the highly anticipated 2019 World Cup,” Woods says.

In addition to the France 2019 Weekly Roundup, Visa will sponsor Sky Sports News’ daily World Cup updates as well as the Sky Sports Football podcast.

Sky Sports will support the campaign across its social channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

10 June – Women’s World Cup to be streamed for free at selected UK cinemas

Pearl & Dean has partnered with Showcase Cinemas to screen the England and Scotland games at the FIFA Women’s World Cup for free in 21 cinemas across the UK.

The British cinema advertising company has secured three premium sponsorship arrangements, one of which includes Visa, which include a gold-spot on-screen prior to the match screenings.

Women’s football continues to go from strength to strength, and we expect demand for tickets to be high. We’ll be working with fantastic partners such as Pearl & Dean to be able to deliver these screenings to our guests all over the UK,” Mark Barlow, general manager for UK Theatres at Showcase Cinemas, says.

Fans can attend the screenings for free by signing up for each match via the cinema box office in order to guarantee a seat in the theatres.

Adding to the conversation is Pearl & Dean CEO Kathryn Jacob who says: “We are delighted to have already secured some amazing brands to sponsor the premium spots on offer and know that this will be a fantastic opportunity for them to target such an engaged audience.”

6 June – Budweiser reimagines Queen Elizabeth I speech to support Lionesses

Budweiser has brought together some of the UK’s most inspiring female talent to create a reimagined version of Queen Elizabeth I’s ‘Heart and Stomach of a King’ speech, which calls on Brits to support the Lionesses ahead of the World Cup.

The beer brand’s version of the speech stars the likes of James Bond actor Naomie Harris and former footballer Rachel Yankey. Together they – alongside a host of powerful, famous female faces – deliver a modernised take on Elizabeth’s words which was initially spoken to her army in the face of the Spanish Armada and the threat of invasion.

The original’s line, “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman” has been tweaked to read, “you may think I have the body of a weak and feeble woman”, in order to tackle biases against female athletes.

Elizabeth’s promise to “reward every one of your virtues in the field” has also been changed to “on the field of play”.

Budweiser is an official sponsor of the Lionesses and says this film is just one element of its partnership with the national team. For instance, skipper Steph Houghton, along with Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Karen Carney, Fran Kirby and Toni Duggan, feature on limited-edition Budweiser packaging.

“As powerful words originally spoken by a powerful woman, delivered by powerful women today, this is a fitting send-off and one we hope will rally the nation,” Tatiana Stadukhina, marketing director at Budweiser, says.

5 June – Three rebrands flagship store in support of Lionesses

Three has rebranded its flagship Oxford Street store to feature three lioness emojis on its façade which are designed to support England’s national women’s team, the Lionesses, ahead of the World Cup in France.

Having supported the Lions during the 2018 World Cup by decking out some of its stores with lion emojis, Three recognised a lionesses emoji doesn’t exist which has triggered a rally cry from the mobile network to help it launch the first ever lioness emoji.

Three’s petition to the Unicode Consortium – the global standard for emojis organisation – has already received more than 750 signatures. It’s been backed by former England player Kelly Smith as well as a host of famous football fans including Gabby Logan and gold-medallists Denise Lewis.

“Join us in getting a lioness emoji so we can support the ladies in the same way we do the men.  We want to use the power of our brand to shine a light on equality in sport. Just as we did for the men last year, we want our staff and customers – as well as the whole nation – to get behind the national team this year,” Shadi Halliwell, chief marketing officer at Three said.

Three says its “light-hearted” campaign is part of a longer-term commitment to make life easier for its customers, identifying emojis are a universal and popular way of communicating.

3 June – Millennials dominate the fanbase for women’s football

Millennials aged 25-34 make up the main fanbase for women’s football worldwide, while 63% of all fans of the women’s game are aged 45 and under, according to Nielsen data.

The survey of 314 million people across 24 countries found that the audience for women’s football worldwide is young and skews slightly male. According to the Nielsen analysis, 54% of women’s football fans are male and 46% female.

In total 44% of the respondents said they are very interested or interested in football, 36% of which are interested in women’s football, equivalent to 16% of the total population.

Fans of women’s football are also open to brands that back their sport. Nielsen found that 61% of women’s football fans agree that companies involved in the sport gain appeal with the audience, compared with 58% of football fans and 51% of the general population. In fact, 42% of women’s football fans actively inform themselves about brands engaged in sports sponsorship.

“In the past few months, we have seen an exciting series of announcements and events highlighting a powerful shift in the women’s sporting landscape,” says Lynsey Douglas, global lead of women’s sports at Nielsen Sports.

“With major brands making significant investments, and our data and insights demonstrating impressive fan interest, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is poised to attract the most attention in the tournament’s history.”

3 June – Nike debuts electrifying Women’s World Cup spot


With the FIFA Women’s World Cup just days away, Nike has thrown its support behind the tournament by debuting the latest instalment of its Just Do It campaign. The ad features a wealth of female football stars including Australia’s Sam Kerr, Brazil’s Andressa Alves and China’s Wang Shuang.

‘Dream Further’, produced alongside Wieden + Kennedy Portland, was unveiled during the UEFA Champions League Final between Liverpool and Tottenham and continues Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy’ positioning.

During the stirring three-minute spot, 10-year-old Makena Cook is led by the hand around the pitch by the world’s top players where she’s seen successfully sidestepping various on-pitch challenges while playing out her dreams.

Set to a soundtrack of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ ‘Bad Reputation’, the ad sees a number of cameos from the likes of England footballer Alex Scott, who is seen making history by coaching the Barcelona men’s team to victory.

The pinnacle comes when Cook serves Kerr a perfect assist for a goal. It ends with the message ‘Don’t change your dream, change the world’. The story serves as a metaphor for how the current crop of world class female footballers can help lead and inspire the next generation.

Nike is also promoting its limited-edition ‘Dream Further’ jerseys – the first children’s football shirt specifically made for girls.

28 May – Lucozade rewrites ‘Three Lionesses’ to support the women’s game

Lucozade hopes its £2m campaign will help propel the Lionesses to household names.

As part of the campaign, created by Grey London, Lucozade has rewritten the popular England tune ‘Three Lions’ for the women’s team. It uses alternative lyrics to highlight the ongoing challenge of overcoming prejudices against women in sport.

The changes include swapping, “All those years of hurt never stopped us dreaming” to “that we don’t have the skill in their eyes. Well, we’re tired of the lies.”

Speaking to Marketing Week ahead of the World Cup, Lucozade Sport’s head of marketing Claire Keaveny said it wanted to incorporate the song into the campaign because it’s such an important part of football culture in England.

“It’s something so iconic and so part of the culture here, my hope is that the [re-written version] really disrupts people and makes them tune in,” she said.

Lucozade Sport is also supporting the Lionesses on its packaging by putting the faces and names of some of the Lionesses as it looks to make them “household names”.

“I truly believe that if the general public know who they are, and knows their stories, they’re going to tune in, which will help to raise the profile of the game,” Keaveny explained.

22 May – Head and Shoulders promises ‘equal footing’ for Lionesses

Procter and Gamble-owned hair care brand Head & Shoulders has promised “equal footing” for both men and women as part of its partnership with the FA.

Katharine Newby-Grant, P&G’s marketing director for Northern Europe, says the brand wants to “showcase” the Lionesses in its new campaign ‘Join the Pride’, which features TV presenter Claudia Winkleman as well as England stars Beth Mead and Keira Walsh.

“If you want to inspire future generations they need to see their role models, they need to say ‘that’s me and I can do that’. It’s a really important moment and there’s a lot more social consciousness and as a brand we felt compelled to take a stance on that,” she says.

In the ad featuring Winkleman, the shampoo brand asks England fans to sport the patriotic hairstyle modelled by the two Lionesses, Mead and Walsh. The ‘three lines’ – which can come in the form of cornrows and twists – is intended to represent the three Lions on spectators’ shirts.

“Firstly, it’s a platform for the players but we also want to help the fans engage. Where’s hoping it encourages them to visibly show their support for the Lionesses, it’s something than can bring them closer,” Newby-Grant adds.

18 May – BBC Women’s World Cup trailer encourages female footballers to ‘change the game’

The BBC recently launched its trailer for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in a bid to spotlight women’s football alongside the fact it has acquired the rights to every game in France.

The broadcaster is guaranteeing “full coverage” of the tournament across TV, radio and online and is promoting the competition with its ‘Change the Game’ campaign, paying homage to the 264 female footballers who will play in France.

The spot features some of the world’s most famous footballers from the UK and beyond, across a series of scenes focusing on their skills, athleticism and personalities.

London rapper Ms Banks has also combined forces to help create an anthem that intends to empower and inspire the next generation of women who might follow in these athletes footsteps.

In the trailer Ms Banks delivers lines such as, “in history her name she writes” and “busting down all the doors we ain’t even putting the keys in”.

Every game at the tournament will be broadcast live on the BBC, with all 52 matches from France shown across BBC platforms including BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four, BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online.