• Andy Marston

Sponsorship: Tackling Challenges in Women's Sport.

Rugby World Cup winner Rachael Burford joins as a special guest on the second ever edition of the Sports Pundit Explains... podcast. In this article we take a closer look at a small part of our conversation around commercialisation.

Last week, SportBusiness reported that Weetabix had extended their national team football presence across the UK and Ireland.

The cereal brand’s agreements with England, Ireland, and Northern Ireland encompass both the men and women’s teams, whilst their collaboration with Scotland and Wales will focus solely on the women’s game.

The deal comes amidst increasing scrutiny from governing bodies and commercial entities to better package their women’s rights.

In recent months we’ve seen UEFA unbundling sponsorship rights from the men's game and we’ve also seen England Rugby sponsor, O2, pledge equal funding to both the men’s and women’s teams. But is one approach better than the other?

In the latest Sports Pundit Explains… podcast, we put that question to England and Harlequin’s rugby star, Rachael Burford.

“I think there can be a combination of both. I think where we’ve been in the past is that things have just been bundled” replied Burford.

“Sponsors want to have two different teams that they can tap in to. The women’s stories and what they do are completely different to what the men’s do, so instead of just packaging it up and saying you can have two teams for the price of one, actually let’s show real value in it.”

Ultimately, there is not one strategy. For each individual league, sponsor, event, competition, it needs a very bespoke approach. Sometimes bundling gives you a good promotional window which you wouldn’t have otherwise, but sometimes you’re not extracting the correct value if you don’t look at it as a standalone event.