By Samindra Kunti
March 21 – In a landmark moment for English women’s football Barclays Bank signed a three-year, deal with the Women’s Super League. The top flight league will be rebranded as the Barclays FA Women’s Super League from next season.
The three-year deal with the British bank is believed to be worth more than £10 million and is being promoted as the largest company sponsorship in the history of UK women’s sport. The deal will also support FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships, a nationwide scheme to help develop girls’ access to football at school.
“We are delighted to announce our landmark partnership with Barclays and are looking forward to them joining us on a journey to transform the future of women’s football,” said Kelly Simmons, the FA’s director of women’s professional game.
“Their record, multimillion-pound commitment will impact all levels of the game and will support our ambition to make the Barclays FA Women’s Super League the world’s most successful league, on and off the pitch.”
“Ultimately it’s only going to be sustainable if we can get more people aware of the WSL, through the turnstiles and more watching on TV. That is as important, almost more important in some ways, than the cash because that will help clubs long term to attract their own sponsorship deals and get better match day sales as well as help us with our TV deals which is where most of the men’s money comes from.”
Barclays has been a longstanding supporter of English football and was the title sponsor of the Premier League from 2004 to 2016.
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said: “To be able to put our support behind women’s football is a great initiative for the bank. The momentum is clearly behind the sport and we’ll see women’s football grow tremendously across the United Kingdom.”
The Women’s Super League was launched in 2011 as an eight-team, semi-professional breakaway division. The league was later revamped into two professional divisions with a set of more stringent club licensing criteria to develop the professional women’s game. The saw the increase of leading men’s premier League clubs launch or invest in women’s teams. The WSL is Europe’s only full-time professional women’s league with eleven teams.
The sponsorship deal is an important moment for the commercial development of English women’s football. Last month Budweiser and Lucozade became official partner of the England’s women’s team as more brands look at backing the women’s game.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1563598308labto1563598308ofdlr1563598308owedi1563598308sni@o1563598308fni1563598308