At the end of 2021, FIFA announced that Visa will be the sponsor for global women’s soccer. This announcement came after FIFA reorganized its partnership structure, which “unbundled” all of the sponsorship rights from the men’s side for all women’s and esports properties. It was also revealed that Visa had become the first official partner of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. In the partnership agreement, Visa will be the exclusive payment service provider and will have exclusive experiences and activities for fans and clients.
Senior Vice President of Global Sponsorship Strategy at Visa, Andrea Fairchild, told SportsPro Media that their
“...commitment to women’s football is not short term — we see these women as game-changers in the biggest sense of the word and love to see the new heights women’s football continues to reach. We are thrilled to continue this trajectory as we look toward Australia and New Zealand in 2023.”
The sportswear giant has started to invest more in women’s sports by targeting women’s activewear and athletic footwear. Adidas launched a new campaign “Impossible Is Nothing” that focuses more on engagement than reach, according to the Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Vickey Free. In an interview with Vogue. Engagement includes videos and pictures across all social media platforms.
Adidas hopes it is reflected in both its new products and marketing language that the brand will continue to invest more in women and LGBTQ+ athletes and people in sports. Free stated that
“...women are part of any business opportunity. You name the category and women are hugely influential, if not driving the purchase decision for the family. In sport, women are changing the game. We just need to find where their needs haven’t been met.”
Financial services company Ally has hopped on the women’s sports train and promised to provide “marketing and media efforts” around women’s sports just as much as the agency does for men’s sports.
According to the CMO and PR officer of Ally, Andrea Brimmer, there have been great changes made over time since Title IX was passed in 1972, but viewership is still “underrepresented” in women’s sports. In a video on Ally’s Instagram, Brimmer went on to announce the company’s new tagline — Do it right.
“Over the course of the next 5 years, for every dollar we spend in media in men’s sports, we’re going to match that, $1 for $1, in women’s sports,” Brimmer said in the video.
This isn't the first time Ally has shown support for sports and athletes — during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the company committed $250,000 to athletes who needed financial support. Ally also just recently became the NWSL’s first banking partner and was a co-sponsor for an ESPN event that focused on women’s sports.
Cracker Jack has been the most iconic snack in baseball history for over 125 years. In an effort to be more inclusive of women and women in sports, however, Pepsico recently announced the newest addition to the Cracker Jack roster — Cracker Jill.
The special edition of the Cracker Jill bag was created to support and celebrate women in sports. Cracker Jack is committing $200,000 to the Women’s Sports Foundation and to encourage fans to also donate, those who donate $5 or more will receive the special edition Cracker Jill bag.
"We are constantly inspired by the many women who are making history by breaking the mold, and we want to celebrate their achievements while supporting the progress," said Tina Mahal, Vice President of Marketing at Frito-Lay North America, in Pepsico’s press release. "Cracker Jack has been part of sports for over a century, as records were made and rules changed. We've been so inspired by how girls and women are changing the face of the game, so in this spirit, we introduce Cracker Jill to show girls that they're represented even in our most iconic snacks."
Washington’s Citi Open is back and it’s better than ever — it’s expected that Citi Open will announce an agreement with the Women’s Sports Foundation and will host a 250-level tournament. Citi Open’s women’s tennis event will be held from July 30 to Aug. 7.
“One of the great things about tennis is that it’s one of the few sports in which men and women are often featured in the same event,” said Citi Open Chairman Mark Ein to the Washington Post.
The United States Postal Service has issued a special edition stamp that features women’s rowing. The USPS stamps were released as a dedication to the advancement of women in competitive sports, including rowing, and took place at the Philadelphia Girls’ Rowing Club, the oldest women-owned club in the U.S. since it was founded in 1938.
Cara Greene, the Postal Service’s Controller and Vice President said in a press release that
“...the images on these stamps capture only part of the true picture of competitive rowing as a synchronized, graceful and demanding sport. Women’s competitive rowing requires strength, endurance, and determination, and we hope these new stamps inspire you to push yourself harder to reach your goals and succeed at anything — keep rowing.”
The Women’s Rowing Forever stamps were designed by Nancy Stahl and are being shared on social media with the hashtag #WomensRowingStamps.
In 2021, Google was one of the latest technology brands that became an official “WNBA Changemaker”. This announcement came as part of Google’s efforts in promoting women’s sports. Through the multiyear partnership, Google helped bring 25 WNBA games to ESPN in 2021 — the WNBA’s 25th season.
"For too long now, women's sports have been underrepresented in the media," said Google’s Chief Marketing Officer Lorraine Twohill to Business Insider. "The WNBA has worked tirelessly to change that and has been at the forefront of progress for gender equity, racial justice, and sport. We are proud to partner with the WNBA and ESPN over the coming years to continue the charge and deliver on our commitment to gender equity and the future of women."
Heineken expanded its UEFA sponsorship to the women’s tournament in 2021 and looks to continue the momentum during its 25-years partnership by breaking down the gender biases that are present in soccer players and fans. To combat the biases in soccer, Heineken launched a new website called Fresher Football that corrects inaccurate statistics online as well as provides accurate information about the UEFA Champions League, especially around the women’s game.
The beer brand also partnered with its first female soccer ambassador, Alex Scott. The Arsenal legend was a part of the winning team that won the 2007 UEFA Women’s Cup and became a broadcaster after Scott’s retirement. Scott joins the other brand ambassador Thierry Henry to support equality in the sport.
“Heineken is a brand for the fans and we’ve always been passionate about bringing people together to celebrate the things they love,” said global head of Heineken’s brand Bram Westenbrink in an interview with Adweek.com. “Now, on our journey to improve inclusivity in football through our sponsorships, we’re committed to ensuring the sport is a safe and welcoming space for everyone."
As the official beer sponsor of the WNBA, Michelob ULTRA announced over the next five years that it will be committing $100 million in an effort to increase the visibility of women’s sports. Efforts include dedicating 50% of its media to content that features women’s sports as well as women in sports, and making sure representation is equal between male and female athletes.
“Michelob ULTRA is proud to be a longtime partner of female athletes and organizations, and as a leader in both the beer and sports marketing industries, there’s so much more we can do to help support equal pay when it comes to women’s sports,” said vice president of marketing, Michelob ULTRA, to PR Newswire. “We need to set the example. And the time for equality has always been now. Our commitment demonstrates Michelob ULTRA’s core belief that female athletes deserve an equal experience, whether they’re on the court, in the newsroom, or on our TV screens.”
Along with its commitment to raising the visibility of women’s sports, Michelob ULTRA has also launched a new campaign “Save It, See It”. The initiative will begin on Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26, and will encourage people to save women’s sports highlights on all social media platforms — the more people who are saving the highlights means more people are watching women’s sports.
Michelob ULTRA has partnered with three female athletes who will help in the campaign as well: Cece Telfer, Andraya Carter, and Nneka Ogwumike, who sat down with GoodSport in an exclusive interview to discuss her involvement.
With limited women’s sports coverage, Buick launched the campaign “See Her Greatness” to bring awareness and also highlight female athletes. The campaign began in March 2022 to run in tandem with Women’s History Month and March Madness, which was the first time in NCAA history that both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were branded the same.
Buick is a long-standing partner of the NCAA and to bring more recognition to women’s sports, it ran the same number of paid ads during March Madness on both the men’s and women’s sides. Fortunately, The “See Her Greatness” initiative is still up and running as it focuses on female athletes throughout history, both in college athletics and in the professional sphere. Buick also announced it will work with TOGETHXR and will continue to be present at various NCAA events throughout 2022.
Molly Peck, the Vice President of Marketing for Buick and GMC, told MarketScreeners.com that
“...what is important to our customers is important to Buick as the brand with the largest percentage share of female buyers, and we are committed to inclusivity and equality for women. These remarkable female athletes have demonstrated the dedication, teamwork, and leadership skills that can be used on and off the playing field, and we believe her greatness should be seen."
The CCO of TOGETHXR, Jessica Robertson added that
“...TOGETHXR is on a mission to showcase and build a business with and for the amazing diverse women changing the world through sports and activism. We're excited to work with Buick, which shares our mission to increase the visibility of women's sports."
Buick also was awarded the #SeeHer in Sports award from SeeHer at the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards back in April.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Shutterstock, Getty Images, Adidas, The Story Exchange, Frito-Lay North America, Michael Blackshire/The Washington Post, USPS, Business Insider, Publicis Italy/Le Pub/Heineken, PR Newswire, Buick