Article sponsored by Impression UK
For many, summer is synonymous with sport. And as we bid goodbye to the warmer months, it’s safe to say that the season didn’t disappoint for sports fans worldwide. One thing that’s slightly different to the norm is the uptake and huge success of women’s professional sport on the international stage.
For years, the sporting world has been dominated by all things male: male athletes, male commentators, and male-targeted marketing. However, we’re seeing a shift. And boy (no pun intended) is it a breath of fresh air?!
The way the media ‘talks’ about women, especially in sport, is now completely shifting from the language used 10 or 20 years ago, and even from the language and visuals used in recent history. We’re seeing more images of physically strong, successful women on our screens, and this is helped by sporting brands running ad campaigns specifically targeted at women.
But it’s not just sporting brands pushing for more female representation in sport; McDonalds, The Coca Cola Company and Budweiser are three instantly recognisable brands that have invested more heavily in the women’s game in recent years.
Investment results in well, results, and attendances, viewing figures and shirt sales have soared thanks to brands discarding outdated tactics and, let’s face it, biases, to put female sport in the limelight. And it’s paying off.
Following on from their Euro win just last year, the Lionesses got the country buzzing once again, with the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup attracting record viewing figures for women’s football, topping off an incredible tournament. The Lionesses did our country proud coming runners up to Spain after making it to the first football World Cup final since 1966, and the hype around the whole tournament was bigger than anything we’ve ever seen in women’s football.
The England Vitality Roses netball team also made history by reaching the Netball World Cup final for the first time since 1975, where they took on Australia. Sadly, it was not meant to be this time and the Roses came in second place. Ever since 1999, the Netball World Cup final has been contested by Australia and New Zealand but on August 5 2023, England upset the status quo.
Much like with the Lionesses, the success of current players comes from the work of those before them; England netball stalwart and Commonwealth Games hero Jo Harten cheered the Roses on from the side lines, as did retired Lioness and Euro winner Jill Scott and a whole host of other Lioness legends. It is a mix of youth and experience combined that is helping many people’s dreams finally come true.
It’s thanks to the efforts of the current squads, and the trailblazers and advocates before them who are still very much a huge part of dialogue, that we’re now seeing more big brands than ever shelling out on sponsorships and backing women.
Investing in women’s sport also represents good business for automotive companies. And as proven, the stats don’t lie.
Although men’s and women’s sport may look the same and share similar values, passion and community, they are ultimately different products with a different audience, messaging and opportunities.
The aftermarket has been a leader in this approach, particularly at grass roots level, supporting both male and female sports teams for years. So, if you’re looking to invest in a sports team as part of your marketing strategy, remember to tailor your approach depending on the audience and start carving a new path and a new agenda in the market.