• Andy Marston

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.

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 Managera 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.