Is women’s football an opportunity that affiliates are letting pass them by?

women's football affiliates

It would’ve been easy for Visa to discard women’s football after last summer’s World Cup. After all, that’s what many other brands did. But instead, the card provider stayed true to its values. Now, it’s continuing to develop new initiatives that keep the game in the spotlight.

The growth of women’s football since 2012 has been pretty substantial. Crowds have increased, national football associations are investing more and a higher number of lucrative deals are being announced. The 2019 World Cup final between the US and the Netherlands was the most-watched women’s football match ever. 

All of the above poses the following question: are affiliates missing a trick by not promoting women’s football? Let’s take a look. 

Visa’s initiatives 

During the last World Cup, Visa matched its marketing spend with the investment it had funnelled from the men’s version in 2018. It has also signed a multi-year deal with the US Soccer Federation and US National Women’s Team, running through to 2023. 

Despite these strides, Visa is far from done. In a recent article published by The Drum, it was mentioned that the payments service provider wants to make Euro 2021 even bigger than the 2019 World Cup. It has also launched initiatives for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Women’s Champions League final, while it has also included Ballon D’or winner Megan Rapinoe in its Team Visa roster.

The growing popularity of women’s football 

Over the course of the 2019 World Cup, 1.12 billion viewers watched the tournament in France via official broadcast coverage – according to official figures. Moreover, an average live audience in excess of 82 million watched the final. This was a stark increase compared to the 2015 version, which was watched by 25.4 million people. 

National football associations have also upped their spending on the women’s game. As mentioned in an article published by The Economist, budgets in Europe have surpassed €100 million and effectively doubled over the last seven years. Many of the continent’s major football clubs now have women’s teams too. 

How does all of this compare to men’s football? 

Despite the progress made so far, men’s football continues to be more popular by a sizeable margin. For example, over 3.5 billion people watched the 2018 men’s World Cup. Meanwhile, the final between France and Croatia viewed by 1.12 billion individuals. 

Domestically, crowds for men’s top-flight matches also tend to be higher than for the women’s versions. As of November 2019, the average 2019/ 2020 Premier League attendance is 39,122 according to World Football. Comparatively, the Women’s Super League has median gates of 4,112. But since this is up from under 1,000 last season and a WSL record of 31,213 was recorded, one could argue that this shows the growth potential of women’s football. 

Final thoughts 

For the big events, women’s football provides an eye-catching affiliate marketing opportunity. This is particularly the case during the World Cup and European Championships years, since the men’s tournaments take place in alternating summers. While there isn’t as much coverage for women’s football in terms of league fixtures, this should also be seen as a good opportunity to get involved now. Showing that you back causes you claim to care about with actions is vital these days, so by taking part in women’s football initiatives you’ll show players that you practice what you preach. 

We explained the importance of showing that your perceived values are genuine in a recent blog post, which looked at online interaction fields. Check it out here.