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New TV deal highlights brand value of women's football

The FA Women's Super League (WSL) kicked off its new season over the weekend and, with a major new broadcast deal, there are a series of new sponsorships as brands look to get in on the growth of the women's game.

Photo Source: Sky Sports
The FA's WSL kicked off its new season over the weekend with a major new broadcast deal and there has been an increase in commercial activity among the teams as a result. 
 
The three-year broadcast deal, reported to be worth £8 million ($11.07 million) per season, sees games broadcast live on the free-to-air BBC and subscription platform Sky Sports, which the league had hoped would boost ratings and the popularity of the league. 
 
Well, this popularity is already starting to show from a commercial perspective. While in the past, many WSL teams have been seen by sponsors simply as ‘add-ons’ to deals with their male counterparts, this is beginning to shift. 
 
Firstly, we are seeing increased value placed on the assets owned by women’s teams such as their front-of-shirt or sleeve. For example, West Ham United have recently enhanced their pre-existing partnership with Trustly, naming the payments platform its Women’s Sleeve Partner.
 
Secondly, and probably most significantly, we are also seeing women’s teams sign exclusive deals. Last week, for example, Herbalife became the official 'nutrition partner' of Tottenham Hotspur and Everton announced a partnership with Football Manager – a video game which earlier this year introduced women’s leagues to its offering.
 
As viewing figures are expected to rise by up to 300% as a result of the TV deal in the UK, greater value should continue to be placed on teams in the WSL. As a result, we can expect to see more and more women’s teams sign deals in their own right. 
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK 
Photo Source: GIPHY/ Mitchell and Webb
FIFA's chief of global football development Arsene Wenger is reported to be the driving force behind plans to hold a World Cup every two years instead of four. 
 
Speaking to L'Equipe, he explained, "The goal is to keep improving the quality of football by increasing the frequency of competitions, alongside an improvement to the laws of the game." 

The plan, which has been opposed by UEFA, has also sparked discussion amongst professionals across the sports industry. Former Coca-Cola sponsorship chief, Ricardo Fort, put forward his opinion on Twitter that, "It is unlikely that any FIFA World Cup sponsor has the interest, ability and resources to promote it every other year. If this project becomes reality, it will detract value from it, not the other way around." 

This is further supported by Dragan Perendija, Head of Content at SPORTO, who suggested that the four year cycle, which is unique to events such as the World Cup and Olympics, is one of its main value drivers. As such, "Less is more."

What do you think? Let me know by replying to this email.
WEEKLY ROUND UP 
Here's a few of the top articles that I've come across this week. I hope you enjoy!
Photo Source: Football.London
Governance and Finance
  • Australia to become first country with joint title for mens and women’s football teams as W-League and A-League results to be combined to decide club champions
  • After a farcical Belgian Grand Prix, Zak Brown fears the “biggest mistake” F1 could make would be not learning from the Spa weekend.
  • Hundreds of women who claim they were abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor have filed a joint $425 million settlement.
Photo Source: Tottenham Hotspur
Sponsorship and Marketing
  • Tottenham Hotspur announce training kit deal with Getir. Here's what the grocery company get from the deal
  • Honda to sponsor England Rugby and RFU in long-term deal that includes naming rights for team's Pennyhill Park training centre. 
  • A-Rod's SPAC has ended merger talks with Panini after it lost a licensing deal with the NBA and NFL (weeks after Topps IPO collapsed for same reason).
Photo Source: Bloomberg
Broadcast and Media
  • Netflix is set to launch a PGA Tour docu-series offering an inside look at life on Tour, inspired by the success of F1's Drive to Survive. 
  • Antenna data indicates that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were Peacock’s largest paid sign-up driver since launch.
  • YouTube and boxing phenom Jake Paul is investing in micro-betting B2B platform Simplebet.
Photo Source: Twitter/ @RealAsheRoof
Technology
  • Digital health and fitness company WHOOP has announced the acquisition of sports technology startup PUSH.
  • US Open line judges are to be replaced by Hawk-Eye Live later this year; chair umpires to remain.
  • ESPN have teamed up with Verizon, Microsoft and Accenture on new Edge Innovation Centre focusing on AR/VR and 5G.
NETWORKING
For the latest edition of the Sports Pundit Networking Series, I caught up with Ben Mercer, an author who turned his life on the fringes of professional rugby into an Amazon Best Seller. He now aims to help other athletes tell their story, starting with GB's 4x100m team that won Olympic gold at Athens 2004.
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