BT has unveiled new plans to use the power of football and technology to release the potential of para and disability, grassroots, and women’s football communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
As part of this brand strategy, BT will seek to release the potential of disability and para, grassroots and women’s football communities.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division said he felt “like a football manager unveiling a new signing.”
With regards to women’s football, in particular, BT aims to bring 50,000 new women into the grassroots system, as part of the FA playmaker online course. This course will be free to all parties in a bid to inspire people from diverse and underrepresented communities to participate.
This objective was further emphasised by Baroness Sue Campbell who said that one of the principle intentions for the course is “to make sure that the people who get that opportunity are the people from the hardest to reach areas and the most difficult and most challenging.”
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Bursaries and mentoring schemes will also be available, to assist those looking to gain a head start in coaching. Allera believes that if the scheme goes to plan, there is nothing to stop a woman from coaching a men’s side at a world cup as soon as 2026.
However, it is not just playing and coaching opportunities that BT have promised. The company will also seek to increase work with female students to offer broadcast training and presenting opportunities.
BT were keen to stress that this is not a scheme they have planned merely for brand exposure, but rather because they feel like they have a moral responsibility to progress the women’s game.
Peter Jeavons, the group brand director for BT, when asked what existing coaches, athletes and journalists could do to help promote this opportunity, was quick to stress the importance of buying into the message.
“Overall, I think people recognising our positive outlook on what we’re trying to do with the FA is ultimately what we’re hoping for,” Jeavons said. “The more people understand there’s not an agenda to it, the more benefit it will have.”
Owing to the success of last year’s World Cup, and the rise of tournaments such as the Women’s Super League, BT have also committed to raising the number of broadcasted women’s matches in the future. Despite no concrete plans to offer these games free of charge, Jeavons promises that BT have plenty of ideas regarding TV and online content.
“‘Being completely honest, it’s not a conversation we’ve had, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out,” Jeavons admitted regarding the showing of matches for free.
“There will be other things that are available to all though. We’re planning a women in football series, shining light on amazing roles people have through playing and management, so we’re certainly going to do as much as we can to surface up women’s football and make it as accessible as we can.”
With so many sponsors looking to engage with women’s football after the World Cup, the game has become somewhat of a fashion statement in recent times. A place for brands to make money quickly, and then get out whilst their ahead. Jeavons promises, however, that with BT, this is not the case.
“The partnership we’ve done with the FA is definitely something we’re in for the long game. The more that a brand like us can stand up and make a long term commitment to this, the more I think that could make other brands start looking at sponsorship opportunities and that would be brilliant by-product of what we’re doing because more people can get excited about it and think there’s a future in it. We are well and truly in it for the long run.”
BT’s plans certainly look to be a step in the right direction for the future of the women’s game. So much has been promised and the possibilities are endless if BT does deliver on these promises. Fingers crossed then, they do just that.News Now - Sport News