Women’s sports forge their own commercial path through new brand sponsorship deals

There is growing viability for brands within women’s sport sponsorship owing to the growing popularity and viewing of its product, with the WNBA and Australia’s Women’s cricket team, the Southern Stars, carving out partnerships independent of their male counterparts, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Patrick Kinch, Sport Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “We are typically accustomed to seeing sponsorship agreements between national teams and sport governing bodies covering both men’s and women’s teams and competitions. However, as women’s sport progresses, its landscape is beginning to see an influx of more brand sponsorship.”

Two examples of this are the WNBA’s exclusive footwear deal with Puma, worth $5m annually, and Cricket Australia’s deal with Commonwealth Bank, which sees the Australian bank act as title sponsor for the Southern Stars, as well as its shirt sponsor. Previously both properties had relied on partnerships, which saw brands cover all their governing body’s products, both men’s and women’s. NBA sponsors were also guaranteed coverage at WNBA fixtures, while Cricket Australia shirt sponsors have historically covered both the men’s and women’s teams.

Kinch continues: “The divergence away from this traditional model highlights the growing profile of the two respective properties within their particular markets. While worlds apart, the effects of the growing profile of the WNBA and the Southern Stars are similar, as both are now able to accrue commercial partnerships independent of their male counterparts, demonstrating the commercial viability of the women’s game within their respective sports.

“As a result of the growth in TV ratings, social media engagement, and record crowd attendances at women’s sport events in recent years, a more unique commercial model for women’s sport may be on the horizon.”

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