Why has interest grown so spectacularly for the women’s game this year? A record 26.5m people tuned-in to watch England’s last hurrah in this year’s FIFA World Cup, blowing 2015’s peak viewing of 2.4million well out of the park. Not only did fans across the country get wholeheartedly behind their team, but brands did too - Budweiser, Lucozade and Nike creating sponsorship campaigns that shined a light on the Lionesses.
Last year’s epic summer of sport saw football fever grip the nation during the Men’s Team’s bid to bring the trophy home from FIFA World Cup 2018. This year gave the promise of repeating that excitement all over again.
The Lionesses prowess was the key spark for Budweiser’s sponsorship. As a brand, Budweiser aligns itself with moments that shine a light on those that are ambitious, determined and talented – qualities that every player in the England Women’s Team shows in abundance.
Budweiser – the Official Partner and Official Beer of the Lionesses, wanted to help drive real change in the women’s game by breaking down barriers and playing part in increasing the profile of the team and women’s game.
So, to help get the entire country behind the England women’s team, Budweiser launched its Heart of a King campaign. Through an inspirational piece of video content, the beer brand created a rallying cry for the nation to get behind the Women’s Team by recreating Elizabeth I’s famous Tilbury speech with a group of powerful, inspirational women including James Bond actor Naomie Harris OBE, actor, model and entrepreneur Suki Waterhouse, and former England footballer Rachel Yankey OBE.
The campaign saw an overwhelming show of support from consumers across social media and online publications, who heralded the video as an empowering representation of the Lionesses talent. With the trending discussion around gender equality, the campaign – and indeed the Women’s World Cup - came at a particularly timely moment, where women’s teams across the world had their first chance in recent years to receive recognition on a global stage.
Undoubtedly, the mass media coverage of the tournament has helped to draw in new fans, with 62 countries holding TV rights to broadcast the tournament this year, compared with 37 in 2015. This will improve in future years, with the BBC having secured rights to the 2021 Women's European Championship, bringing women’s football into the mainstream.
Now with the 2019 Women’s World Cup over, there’s an exciting journey ahead for women’s football as interest grows more and more with the public.