The beer brand has backed the US women’s team for many years, “but we realize there is so much more Budweiser can do,” said Monica Rustgi, VP/Marketing at Budweiser.
“Becoming the official beer sponsor of the NWSL is our way of not just supporting the US women’s team once every four years, but also supporting women’s soccer every single day.”
An ad in the New York Times made the same point – that the women’s team is more watched than any soccer team in American history, “But when the tournament ends, we stop watching.”
It’s also more successful, having won four World Cups and four Olympic titles, while the men’s team didn’t even qualify for last year’s (men’s) World Cup – a fact that plays into the women’s team’s ongoing legal battle with US Soccer over equal pay.
They further allege they have been denied equal playing, training and travel conditions and that their games have been less promoted.
The Wall Street Journal reported recently that, between 2016 and 2018, women’s games generated slightly more revenue (in ticket sales) than men’s games ($50.8m v $49.m), based on US Soccer’s audited financial statements; broadcast rights, however, are sold as a package making it harder to separate the value of each team to broadcasters and brands.
Nonetheless, Budweiser knows a good thing when it sees one: as well as becoming the official beer of the league, it will have naming rights to the playoffs, the championship, the MVP trophy, and a newly created ‘Most Valuable Supporter’ award for the league’s biggest fan, according to Inside World Football.
Other brands are also tapping into the opportunities around women’s soccer: Visa has struck a five-year deal with US Soccer and intends half its investment to go to the US women’s team and women’s soccer programming initiatives.
And – in a sign that brands can be on side in the equal pay fight – an ad for Secret, the official women’s deodorant of US Soccer, had the payoff line that “Secret supports equal pay for all”.
Sourced from Wall Street Journal, Inside World Football, Imgur; additional content by WARC staff