The Women’s Sports Sponsorship Deals that Boosted the Industry

The world of women’s sports sponsorship is evolving, with technology playing a pivotal role in driving progress and change. Previously, we talked about how we should embrace technology in women’s sports and marry it with the investment and sponsorship strategies that brands can use to maximize their ROI. It shed light on many real-life examples where the intermingling of both brought about multifold results in the branding exercise done by brands with women’s sports teams and individuals, for both companies and the sports industry at large. It is a win-win situation.

With this piece, we seek to shed light on the women’s sports industry world and the biggest sponsorship deals that have taken place in it that have paved the way for the growth of this industry. 

Source: Forbes

On the topic of sponsorship, it is worth noting that the last 3-4 years have seen a rapid influx of money flowing into women’s sports which has contributed to the drastically fast growth of this much-deserved industry. We have compiled a sweet short list for anyone who wants to take a quick look at all the major investments across different women’s sports tournaments & teams below. 

Let’s Glance through the Numbers

The below table shows different companies’ investments in women’s sports with their actual amounts, the teams or committees invested in, and the tenure of investment. 

BrandInvestmentTeamYear of Investment
Procter & Gamble$200 millionUS Women’s National Soccer Team2019-2024
Secret Deodorant$1 millionUS Women’s National Soccer Team2019-2024
Dick’s Sporting Goods$5 millionUS Women’s National Soccer Team2019-2024
Athleta$10 millionUS Women’s National Soccer Team2021-2024
Nike$50 millionWNBA2021-2025
Adidas$15 millionWomen’s Soccer United Association (WSU)2019-2022
Verizon$5 millionWNBA2021-2025
Visa$20 millionUEFA Women’s Football2018-2025
Budweiser$5 millionNational Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)2019-2021
Deloitte$10 millionUS Soccer Federation2019-2022
AT&T$5 millionWomen’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)2021-2025
American Express$5 millionUS Women’s National Soccer Team2019-2024
Gatorade$1 millionWomen’s Soccer United Association (WSU)2019-2022
PepsiCo$10 millionWNBA2021-2025
Microsoft$5 millionWNBA2021-2025
The Players’ Tribune$5 millionWNBA2021-2025
Mastercard$5 millionWNBA2021-2025
Barclays$37 millionWSL2022-2025

Barclays & WSL – A Pioneering Sponsorship


Barclays, a renowned global financial services business, became the first-ever title sponsor of the Women’s Super League (WSL) in the United Kingdom in a historic arrangement announced in 2019. This historic collaboration was a watershed moment in the history of women’s football, indicating a transformation in the landscape of the sport and the recognition it deserves.

The initial three-year sponsorship partnership, worth around £10 million, began with the 2019/20 season and lasted until 2022. The agreement has been transformative for women’s football, giving unprecedented financial backing and raising the sport’s reputation to new heights. Barclays has since signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the Women’s Super League (WSL) and Championship, marking a record investment in British women’s sports. From 2022 through 2025, the bank intends to contribute more than £30 million to women’s and girls’ football, more than tripling its initial sponsorship commitment from 2019.

Source: Barclays

Barclays’ financial backing of the WSL is not only a testament to the bank’s dedication to promoting gender parity in sports, but it also serves as a catalyst for the expansion of women’s football across all tiers, attracting additional sponsors, media coverage, and general interest. As part of the sponsorship arrangement, Barclays has pledged to support the FA’s “Wildcats” program, an initiative designed to inspire young girls to engage in football and hone their skills.

WNBA World Record Deal


The WNBA made history by announcing the largest-ever capital raise for a women’s sports property, $75 million. A combination of new and existing WNBA and NBA owners participated in the investment. The move is part of a comprehensive financial growth strategy aimed at increasing income by prioritizing investment in key areas for the league’s long-term business development. The funds generated from this transaction are expected to be used for brand elevation, globalizing the WNBA, innovation, digital and consumer touchpoint growth, and addressing league growth barriers to generate new revenue.

Source: Mediapost

Northland Investment Corporation Chairman Larry Gottesdiener will be the majority owner of a new team that will play at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, Joe Tsai (owner of the Brooklyn Nets), Rick Welts, and Todd Boehly, all of whom have substantial experience in sports and media, are among the other investors.

On a different note, as part of the Google Change Makers Programme, Google tied up with the WNBA because both organizations are committed to gender equality and empowerment. The program has raised the profile of the WNBA and empowered women, promoted community-based activities, and produced a pipeline of female leaders in the sports business through mentorship and networking opportunities.

Heineken & UFEA Women’s League Sponsorship


Heineken, the world-renowned Dutch brewing company, in August 2021, acquired the rights to sponsor the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Women’s League till the 2024-25 season. This acquisition marked a new chapter in the history of women’s sports and signifies the growing interest from multinational corporations in supporting and promoting gender equality in sports.

Source: Heineken

The multi-year (till 2024-25 season) sponsorship agreement establishes Heineken as a key presence in the world of women’s sports. The acquisition of these rights by Heineken emphasizes the company’s commitment to supporting female athletes and competitions, while also leveraging its global footprint to raise awareness of the UEFA Women’s League.

Now, before we go any further, let’s take a look at the viewership numbers. 

UEFA Women’s Champions League (Final)2018 TV Viewership2019 TV Viewership2020 TV Viewership2021 TV Viewership
Highest views (Country)NA1.7 million (France)1.3 million (Germany)3.2 million (Spain)
Overall views (Europe)0.87 million 6.8 million 4.4 million 12.3 million

We can clearly see that the 2019 season finale for Women’s UEFA (starting year of the sponsorship) already had 8 times the viewership in all of Europe as of the previous year. It has since grown to 12.3 million as of 2021 which is roughly a 14X growth from pre-sponsorship days.

The impact of the sponsorship is clear in bringing these games out to the masses of the planet and getting more support and growth to the game. This is also a reason why brands should invest even more in women’s sports in the coming future. 

TATA WIPL Broadcasting Deal makes history

Viacom18, a joint venture between ViacomCBS and Reliance Industries, has obtained the media rights to broadcast the Women’s Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket event for the next five years for Rs 951 crore ($130 million USD). The final match between eventual champions Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals saw more than 10 million new viewers tune in on JioCinema. The streaming platform said that was the highest viewership for any women’s event globally. This cements the fact that women’s cricket has so much potential yet to be tapped into. 

Source: SportsTiger

The Women’s IPL ended with Mumbai Indians winning the final against Delhi Capitals in front of a sell-out crowd of 50,000 people at Brabourne Stadium. The WPL was hailed as a game-changer for women’s cricket, featuring five teams and top players earning $400,000 for the 3-week event. The tournament was a significant investment for India’s cricket governing body, with the multi-million deal with Viacom 18. The Mumbai Indians, who were aiming to expand their brand beyond India, emerged as champions, while the Delhi Capitals were led by Australian cricket legend Meg Lanning.

The WPL’s success could have a long-term impact on women’s cricket in India, inspiring girls on the terraces and beyond to take up the sport. Women’s cricket in India has long lagged behind that of fellow powerhouses Australia and England, but the country’s governing body has devised a strategy to bring women’s cricket to the forefront of a nation with a billion people.

Women’s sports are attracting brand investments, but why?

The women’s sports industry has, lately, been the center of attraction for many brands around the world who are seeking to increase engagement and therefore revenue. Why is the world seeing this drastic shift and limelight on women’s sports, and for all the good reasons? Below we have listed down a few reasons for the same: 

  1. Increased media coverage and social media exposure have helped women’s sports events attract larger audiences in recent years. This growth in viewership provides brands with a valuable opportunity to reach new and engaged audiences.
  1. In support of gender equality and empowering female athletes, women’s sports align with many brands’ corporate social responsibility goals. It is possible to enhance a brand’s image and reputation through investments in women’s sports, demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
  1. Women’s sports have historically received underrepresented sponsorships and media coverage, resulting in an untapped market. The increasing interest and growth in women’s sports present an opportunity for brands to become early adopters.
  1. Brands have a unique opportunity to connect with loyal and enthusiastic consumers at women’s sports events due to their highly engaged and passionate fan bases.
  1. Women’s sports leagues and organizations tend to be more open to exploring creative and innovative sponsorship opportunities, giving brands the opportunity to create campaigns that resonate with their target audience.
  1. Brands are getting a new set of eyeballs, and a new customer base by sponsoring women’s sports, allowing them to expand into newer target groups for their products and services. 
  1. “Purpose-driven” consumers now make up the largest segment of the buying public, at 44%, according to a recent IBM survey

To end with…

The above instances clearly show that 2022 was the big money year for women’s sports and 2023 will show the results in terms of viewership numbers going high and brands seeing exposure to a segment of fans who are brand new tech-savvy people.

The biggest sponsorship deals are proof that the industry is flourishing. Women’s sports have experienced an unprecedented infusion of funding during the past three to four years. Prepare to be amazed, the figures are really mind-boggling! While Nike signed a $50 million deal with the WNBA, Procter & Gamble committed $200 million to the US Women’s National Soccer Team. The financial revolution, however, continues in other ways. Barclays agreed to sponsor the Women’s Super League in the UK for £30 million, and the WNBA broke its own record by raising $75 million in cash. 

In conclusion, while women’s sports sponsorship still faces some challenges at some level, there has been significant progress in recent years. As more companies recognize the potential of women’s sports and the value of investing in female athletes and teams, we can expect to see continued growth and support for women’s sports in the future.

These are just a few examples of how the sector is expanding to new heights. We are thrilled to be a part of the unstoppable expansion of women’s sports, which is being fueled by ground-breaking sponsorships and significant investments. In our next article, we shall do an analysis of the growth trajectory of women’s sports in the USA and the UK. Stay tuned! 

Feel free to leave any feedback on this article! We love hearing back from our readers. 


Aman Ratnam
Btech (India), MBA (IIM Udaipur, India)

Ekta Sharma
Btech (India), MSc Sports Business (Sheffield Hallam, UK)