Betfred has announced that they will extend their sponsorship to include the Women's Super League until 2021.
This is much-needed news for the sport. The growth of brand stepping up to the plate and growing in confidence to support women's sport is a refreshing sight for many who have been fighting for change. Betfred will become the first title sponsor that mirrors their sponsorship for the men's league.
Summer 2019 saw the viewing figures in women's sport skyrocket, and the support from brands grew to new heights. England's victory over Scotland in the Women's World Cup attracted an average audience of 4.6 million viewers to BBC One. This was a new record for a women's football. This is excellent news for women's rugby as it has become one of the most popular over the years.
Betfred's commitment to women's sport is a real confidence boost for brands who were sceptical about sponsoring women's sport.
In research by GumGum Sports analysed three U.S. Women's National Team matches at this summers World Cup, measuring sponsorship media value across television and social media.
The research found that a non-sold area with no sponsor logo present gave the World Cup partners the highest return on investment of any sponsorship placement. That space drove $2.96 million in value over the three measured games – nearly $1 million per match.
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"Leading into the Cup, a fair number of doubters were questioning the virtue and value of sponsorship in women's football – even women's sport in general – but it looks like the doubters were wrong," said GumGum Sports GM Brian Kim.
"This was a small sample of early tournament games, and the sponsorship media values we found were still huge. It's clear not only that sponsors were smart to get behind the Women's World Cup, but also that FIFA could have mined the Cup for considerably more sponsorship revenue than it did."
Hoping that rugby will have the same success as rugby has become one of the fastest-growing female sports in England, with the number of women and girls who are registered to play rugby in clubs rising 185% in the last seven years. This is partly thanks to England Rugby’s Inner Warrior campaign, which has been created to introduce women to contact rugby and which has been responsible for encouraging more than 18,000 women to try the sport out at a specially tailored ‘Warrior Camp’.
Betfred founder and CEO Fred Done remarked: "We are delighted to further extend our association with Rugby League by becoming the first-ever sponsor of Women's Super League. We look forward to working alongside the Rugby Football League in order to promote the women's game and help raise the profile of a sport that is most definitely on the up."
"This is another significant step in the development of Women's Rugby League – and specifically the Women's Super League," said RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer. "The women's game has made amazing progress since the launch of the WSL only two years ago, both in terms of the quality of play on the field and also in its public profile.
"We're delighted that Betfred has recognised this and want to get involved. It's a perfect fit, complementing their long-term support of the Betfred Super League, Championship and League One, and making Grand Final weekend in October an even bigger stage for the game.
"Everyone in Rugby League knows that Betfred are great partners to work with, and one of the most exciting things about this deal for us is their enthusiasm for the women's game and their determination to extend its profile through their digital platforms," said Rimmer.
The women’s Championship and League One Grand Finals will take place on Saturday October 12th at Manchester’s Etihad Campus before the men’s Super League final at Old Trafford, while the grand final will take place the day before on the 11th October in St. Helen's.
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