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Archive for December 6, 2018

Dec. 6, 2018 — Leaning in, but in Europe

Women’s soccer worldwide has suffered from a lack of support from major sponsors. Even in one of the most progressive countries, the United States, the teams of the National Women’s Soccer League have relied on funding from obscure companies such as ProChain software, and several health insurance companies Providence, Moda, and Orlando Health. There are a handful of familiar names on the front of NWSL kits such as Continental Tire, Microsoft, and Domino’s Pizza, a far cry from the days when ad patches on WUSA kits featured companies like Dent Wizard.

But it was announced today that UEFA, the continental governing body of soccer in Europe, had signed an eight-year agreement with Visa to promote the UEFA Women’s Champions League, European Nations League, and European Championships through 2025.

What is enormous about this deal is not only its length, but the fact that UEFA already has financial and credit sponsorship already, but on the men’s side. This is a gender-specific deal, and it could ratchet up competition for becoming The Official Credit Card for all of UEFA once the next deals are negotiated.

UEFA is also very protective of its sponsors; in the original version of the Champions’ League opening credits for the world feed, the seven major sponsors figured prominently in the computer-generated animation. A couple of these sponsors remain on board to this very day, which shows how loyal this governing body is to the people who help finance major competitions within Europe.

And with the influx of cash, it could be interesting to see how many and which European club teams decided to spend money to attract top talent and compete with the NWSL for talent.