Rewarding sponsorships - the brands targeting football clubs with men’s and women’s teams

The rise of women’s sport has led to the emergence of a new trend in sponsorship, centred around targeting football clubs with strong men’s and women’s teams.

In this feature, we explore the brands who have benefited from this multi-asset strategy and why businesses should capitalise whilst they still can.

A new era of sponsorships

Sports sponsorships have been an integral part of businesses’ marketing strategies for decades. 

Many of the world’s biggest brands, including Emirates, Heineken, MasterCard, Red Bull, and Santander have an entire arsenal of sport sponsorships as part of their marketing mix, choosing to sponsor multiple teams, events, competitions and athletes within the industry. 

This multi-asset approach to sports sponsorship has been particularly popular since the globalisation of major sports in the 1980s and 90s, with many brands reaping the rewards from it. The rise of women’s sport in recent years has led to the emergence of a new form of multi-asset sponsorship, centred around targeting football clubs with strong men’s and women’s teams.   

Through this strategy, brands are able to reach a wider and more varied audience whilst focusing resources under one sponsorship pillar, allowing them to maximise their investment and brand reward. 

In the below article, we take a look at some of the brands who have used this approach to great effect in recent times.

Stanley Black & Decker

Industrial tool and household hardware manufacturer Stanley Black & Decker have been working with FC Barcelona since 2014, first partnering with the men’s team before extending the partnership to the women’s team in 2017.

With 35 domestic league titles and seven UEFA Champions League titles between the men’s and women’s teams, the Catalan giants are one of the most successful football clubs in world football. 

As the world’s largest tools and storage company, Stanley’s partnership with FC Barcelona has utilised the pair’s shared success and values to create a partnership which incorporates marketing and promotional rights and assets, TV-visible and in-stadium signage, tickets and hospitality, VIP experiences and digital marketing rights and assets. 

The partnership has also seen Stanley activate a number of campaigns across the men’s and women’s teams, including the ‘Beyond a Match’ campaign which features the maintenance team behind Europe’s biggest stadium, Spotify Camp Nou. 


London based football club Chelsea are one of the most successful institutions in England across their men’s and women’s teams. 

With 33 major honours between them, including four domestic league titles in a row for the women’s team and two UEFA Champions League titles in the last 15 years for the men’s team, they are a great example of how a club can deliver peak performance across all teams. 

Travel and hotel experts Trivago have been working with Chelsea since 2021, when the German brand announced their role as training kit sponsor with an eye-catching activation which saw the club stadium, Stamford Bridge, turned into ‘Stamford Beach’, as the captains and managers of the club’s men’s and women’s teams got ready for their summer travels with Trivago. 

Recent years have seen sport take on an increasingly important role for Trivago’s marketing strategy as the Dusseldorf headquartered company partnered with major men’s and women’s sporting assets, including the IHF Men’s World Handball Championship 2023 and the 2023 Women’s Football Awards. 

Speaking about their involvement in the latter, Trivago said: “This collaboration will enable trivago to increase its brand visibility and to reach a broader audience as women’s football is continuously gaining traction across the world…the announcement is also a step forward in the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion….”. 

Google Pixel

The smartphone industry houses one of the most competitive markets in the world, with giants such as Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi all dominating the space. In 2016, leading technology multinational Google unveiled their first smartphone series: Google Pixel. 

Since then, Google Pixel has invested heavily to catch up with the industry’s big players. A major part of this investment is the company’s sport sponsorship strategy, where there is a clear blueprint to partner with rightsholders who have strong men’s and women’s teams. 

In 2023, Google Pixel announced long-term strategic partnerships with Arsenal, Liverpool and The FA, emphasising the importance of the partnerships being with both the men’s and women’s teams, and with the goal of “closing the visibility gap between men's and women's football. …by delivering exclusive content to bring women's football front and centre.”. 

This sponsorship commitment has seen Google Pixel become a mainstay on The FA, Arsenal, and Liverpool’s social and digital channels, capturing fan-favourite behind the scenes action. This comes in addition to partnering with women’s domestic leagues in Germany and the US, most notably becoming the title sponsor of the ‘Google Pixel Frauen Bundesliga’.


The USA and football (soccer to the natives) have a rather unconventional association. Unlike most major footballing nations, the U.S. Women’s National Team  has long been the country’s pride and primary source of major accolades.

Increased success for the U.S. Men’s National Team in recent years has turned U.S. Soccer into a leading national side across the men’s and women’s game, something that automobile manufacturer Volkswagen have picked up on. 

First partnering with U.S. Soccer in 2019, the collaboration sees Volkswagen work with the federation to reduce barriers for participation and increase opportunities for underrepresented youth and underserved communities. 

As official presenting partner, the German brand is represented on all Men’s, Women’s and Youth training and warm-up shirts, as well as being visible through in-stadium and training camp placements on U.S. Soccer creative materials, including a significant presence in the organisation’s social media and digital efforts.

Note to brands - capitalise on these sponsorships while you can

Both rightsholders and brands have identified the seemingly ever-rising value of women’s sport in recent years. In 2021 FIFA decided to unbundle the commercial rights for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, separating the sponsorship opportunities from the men’s edition, creating new, targeted platforms for brands to engage with a growing audience. 

This followed UEFA’s decision to also unbundle their rights to the UEFA Women’s Champions League from the men’s competition in 2017. Despite more rightsholders choosing to distinguish between their men’s and women’s properties, most are still sticking with the bundled approach. 

Whilst some rightsholders are missing the value of their properties in women’s sport, opportunistic brands are seeing a real possibility to reach multiple key consumer groups at a below market price. 

With major associations such as FIFA and UEFA already seeing the value of unbundling, it may not be long until football clubs do the same, leaving brands missing out on a proven sponsorship strategy.

Beyond the Match
The SPORTFIVE Magazine

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