Source sits in the dugout with The FA’s Damian Treece to talk licensing tactics.
Summer 2018, that blisteringly hot summer, resplendent with Kieran Trippier free-kicks, Harry Maguire riding an inflatable unicorn and England ‘finally’ winning a penalty shoot-out.
But, time moves quickly in the world of football and that was then, but this is now. The FA is readying itself for FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France, where the Lionesses head into the tournament as one of the favourites under the stewardship of Phil Neville.
Further to the ambition for consistent success on a global stage, the growth of the Women’s and Girl’s game is a central theme of The FA’s strategy of doubling both participation and fan base.
“Alongside these respective growth pillars, The FA is developing and activating a number of key strategic partnerships and licensing deals to build visibility and engagement around the Lionesses,” says Damian Treece, licensing partnerships manager at The FA.
For the first time, The FA is launching a Lionesses Supporters Club, giving fans early access to Lionesses news, ticket information, exclusive competitions and player content. Allied to this, and in collaboration with the new FA retailer partner Fanatics, the England online store now has a Lionesses bespoke hub where player kits are available for the current squad.
Outside of the FA and England ecosystem, Brecrest will be producing a range of Lionesses babywear that will be landing in retail in time for World Cup kick off.
Damian notes the importance of this, saying: “Babywear and infant apparel is a key target category for us to build, allowing it to engage with the key gifting market and broaden its reach across demographics and the family unit.”
In the toy world, a Lionesses liveried version of Subbuteo will also be in market, courtesy of Eleven Force. Lastly, The FA also be working closely with the team at Panini to deliver thousands of stickers and collectables into the hands of young football fans across the UK. “As a partner, Panini forms a key part of The FA’s engagement strategy and their event sampling and roadshows are perfect touchpoints with both the team and young fans,” observes Damian.
Looking a little further ahead, Damian teases that there is more.
“We’re currently deep in negotiations with another number of other potential partners who we will be announcing closer to the start of the tournament, but from behind the curtain of embargoes there are some truly exciting developments to come.”
While women’s football is not a new phenomenon, there are undeniable signs that the sport is on the tipping point of exploding.
Visa has recently been announced as the first-ever sponsor for women’s football (running through 2025) across all UEFA tournaments, Ada Hegerberg becoming the first female Ballon d’Or recipient and over 45,000 fans come to Wembley for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final in 2018.
There is a growing momentum behind the sport and The FA wants women and girls from all over the country, irrespective of background, to be able to play and engage with the game and the Lionesses across various media, events and licensed opportunities.