A Woman’s Football Revolution
A global revolution in women’s sport is taking place and we at Wonderhatch – and in particular in our Sports and Rightsholders division – are privileged to have a front row seat. Our exclusive partnership with The Football Association has coincided with the games’ governing body taking a fresh approach to women’s football.
The Football Association tasked themselves with a mission statement; between 2017 and 2020 the mission is to double participation in women and girls’ football: from 6,000 registered teams to 12,000.
The second part of the strategy is to increase average attendances from 11,000 to 22,000 for International matches and 1,047 to 2,000 supporters at FA Women’s Super League matches.
The third aim of the FA’s strategic plan was to ensure the International team achieves a top 3 success at a major tournament; and with the potential to win the World Cup in 2023. While our work with the Football Association is all encompassing, covering everything from the England men’s senior team to producing content for grassroots initiatives, we decided to set up a specific team to concentrate on how we can support the FA’s initiatives for women’s football in this country.
Our focus was to ensure our combination of live sports, lifestyle and portrait photography would engage ‘traditional’ football fans by illustrating the athletic ability of the players. We would also ensure our coverage provided female players and their football clubs with photographic and digital content they could share with their followers on social media. Encouraging their influencer ability and to bring them closer to their fans.
Through our advanced content delivery set up, provided by our friends and partners at Capture Ltd, we’re able to ingest pictures quickly into a database that enables the client’s social media producers to quickly access a variety of pictures. This is turn lets the FA bring and communicate a visual element to its real-time updates on live matches. Aligned to the global newspaper, syndication arrangement Capture helped set up, this enabled the client in its global distribution and to reach a new, younger fan base online, whilst providing additional coverage in newspaper print of the domestic women’s game that simply hasn’t been seen before.
We also encouraged the client to embed a photographer with the senior England women’s team for the first time. Working in conjunction with player liaison managers we identified the sports photographer – Lynne Cameron – best placed to build a rapport with the players and officials alike and so ensuring she is like a trusted partner within the team. In addition to shooting official portraits for commercial partners; for the first time ever seen in the women’s game, we employed multiple photographers to cover senior international games with differing briefs to fulfil distinct objectives.
Tasked with providing match action, our photographers have also been able to illustrate a professional yet relaxed environment surrounding women’s football along with an emphasis on camaraderie and engagement with fans. Our photography coverage has enabled the client to build their marketing resources ahead of and during the Women’s World Cup 2019 and allowed the players to engage with fans like never before. In March 2019, the Football Association unveiled Barclays as the first sponsor of the Woman’s Super League in a £10 million pound, three year sponsorship deal.
This time the revolution will be televised and caught on camera too.