Paris, 5 June 2019 – Following kick-off at the 2019 World Cup on Friday 7th June, the spotlight is on women’s football and the players of the French team, in search of their first world champion stars.

Benjamin Deblicker, Vice President Sales at Lagardère Sports, encourages you to attend matches, going on to explain why this exceptional exhibition is the perfect opportunity for advertisers to discover a world that has been in the shadow of its male counterpart for too long.

Women’s football has many advantages that will attract brands wishing to give meaning to their communication, or simply to invest in a relatively new and affordable territory. For these reasons, Lagardère Sports is showing its support for the discipline, giving it the opportunity to launch into a real growth dynamic.

“Could it be that women’s football will experience its own ‘12 July’ and that a blue wave will wash over France on 7 July if the French team become the world champions, as was the case following the triumph of their male counterparts in 1998?” Answering yes is not as far-fetched as you might think. There has never been a better time to ride the wave of recognition enjoyed by women’s teams across all disciplines.

Winning their first title would be a tremendous boost for the Blues, and also more generally to France’s 160,000 federation members, in their quest for recognition among the public, the media, and consumer brands, because recently women’s football has started to change.

Thanks to the impetus of world football leaders and most of Europe’s leading football clubs, the discipline is part of a dynamic that is constantly growing and is finally breaking away from the clichés that have long kept it in the shadow of men’s football.

This year, UEFA launched the Time for Action programme, which aims to double the number of female players to 2.5 million, and to change the perception of women’s football in Europe, doubling the scope and value of the women’s European Cup and the Women’s Champions League.

In France, handball, basketball and more recently rugby have shown that girls’ performances in the national team lead to a level of enthusiasm that gives the celebrations following men’s wins a run for their money. The main difference is still the duration and economic impact of the event.

Therefore, banking on women’s football can be a good idea for brands – it allows them to differentiate themselves and reach new targets in a relatively unknown universe with extremely high development potential, given that currently 80% of sports sponsorship is dedicated to men.

However, be careful not to misinterpret the message: women’s football should not be reduced to the term, “women’s football”. Above all, it is football, meaning it is a very popular sport that attracts a lot of people, and the World Cup is a key moment that will generate passion among all football fans, regardless of their gender.

Moreover, focusing on women’s football is a good way for brands to create a relevant story that will engage the target audience. The availability of players and the context of a slightly less “elitist” vision of football motivates advertisers to find meaning in their communication. In this respect, Arkema’s partnership with the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is interesting: the brand’s engagement is motivated by HR issues relating to the recruitment of women and feminising the company’s internal mindset.

Investing in women’s football can be viewed as banking on the future, because all major European clubs are now developing their women’s sections, which could lead to real media competition between these teams in the near future.

In terms of audience, women’s football also has advantages. TV audiences for a French team match reach about the same number of viewers as Paris St-Germain vs. Marseille in Ligue 1, and an Olympique Lyonnais vs. PSG match of the Division 1 women’s team has just over 450,000 viewers.

The fact that TF1 and Canal + have acquired the rights to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and plan to provide coverage as extensive as that reserved for the Blues in 2018 is also indicative of a positive change in mentality.

Olympique Lyonnais developed a strategy for the women’s game a long time ago, which allows it to reign supreme at the European level today, thanks to an exemplary business model and a track record of making the major stars of men’s football jealous.

To ensure that 2019 is not just a flash in the pan, clubs and advertisers would be wise to jump on board quickly.”


Benjamin Deblicker