As the U.S. looks to defend its FIFA Women’s World Cup title, all eyes are on this year’s tournament in France. In recent years, women’s football has been gaining significant momentum, and FIFA is predicting that over 1 billion people will watch.
With so many shopper eyes on the game, there is significant opportunity for brands to capitalize on the rising popularity of women’s football; however, only a handful have yet to do so. Perhaps this is because many falsely believe that since it is a women’s competition, its fanbase is predominantly female. However, 53% of Women’s World Cup viewers are men. The fanbase is also overwhelmingly progressive.
For U.S. viewers the tournament is inextricably tied to the gender equality movement, as last month the U.S. team sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination. This resonates with World Cup viewers, 83% of whom believe there needs to be greater strides for equality. This provides a ripe opportunity for brands to make their position on the subject clear. Shoppers today are increasingly likely to make purchase decisions based on brands’ presence, or lack thereof, in relevant social, political and cultural happenings. In fact, according to a May 2019 study, 25% of purchase decisions are led by cultural relevance.
FIFA’s six global partners are Visa, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Qatar Airways and Wanda. Visa has pledged to spend the same on marketing the Women’s World Cup as it did the men’s tournament in Russia. Similarly, Adidas will pay women the same bonus payouts as men for winning the World Cup. While there is still a way to go to match men’s football commercially, brands are continuing to push the needle in a positive direction. It is apparent that it is no longer enough for brands to connect with shoppers solely based on an interest like women’s soccer. Instead, they must go a step further and appeal to this interest along with shared social and cultural values.
Contributed By: Bailey Sims, Integer Denver
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