Women’s sport offers particular opportunities for brands, being typically less cluttered and cheaper to sponsor than its male equivalent, but potential sponsors need to tread carefully, an industry specialist advises.

Misha Sher, Worldwide Vice President, Sport & Entertainment at MediaCom, warns in the current issue of Admap (topic: creating a sports sponsorship framework) that brands seen to be jumping on a bandwagon or lacking commitment will receive a harsh response from audiences.

That’s because alongside the usual considerations of reach and cost, they now have to factor in purpose, he says. Younger consumers, especially, want to live in a world that’s more inclusive, fairer and more protective of the environment.

“As such, supporting women’s sport is not just a marketing investment,” Sher explains. “It’s a demonstration of a company’s values, and a commitment to creating a more equal world.”

In other words, sponsorship of women’s sport should not be seen as simply a media buy offering cheap reach but rather a chance to connect with a very engaged audience.

There’s a challenge for marketers, he acknowledges, in that women’s sport represents a longer term, strategic investment at time when brand marketers are under pressure to deliver short-term results.

There is also still a preference to invest in established (men’s) properties that have been shown to deliver audiences and engagement, and can back up that up with data.

But, Sher argues, if brands can offer unconditional and authentic support, “It offers the chance to be part of an emotional sporting experience.

“It’s an opportunity to win hearts and minds by giving something meaningful to the sport.”

And at a time when participation in and viewing of women’s sport is on the rise – a combined 1.12 billion viewers tuned in to coverage of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, for example – it’s a prospect brand can’t afford to ignore.

For more details, read Misha Sher’s article in full here: Women’s sport: From niche to mainstream.

This issue of Admap on creating a sports sponsorship framework features articles by thought leaders from across the globe. WARC subscribers can access a deck summarising the expertise and insights from all our contributors. 

Sourced from Admap