Visa’s sponsorship reached it’s first big win after the U.S. Women’s National Team won the World Cup back in June. Now, the financial company is going for more. The American audience on English-language television for the Women’s World Cup final was 20% higher than the 2018 men’s final.
Back in May 2019, Visa announced a Five-Year Partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation with special support of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT). Visa had also locked a deal sponsoring the male team. But, the company made it soon clear that its support of the female division was serious.
At least 50% of Visa’s sponsorship budget would be designated for the women’s side, the company shared. It seems that Visa made a smart move. According to Fox Sports, the American audience on English-language television for the Women’s World Cup final was 20% higher than the 2018 men’s final.
That final was the one that made the USWNT four-time world champion. This represents more than any other women’s soccer team in the world.
This is only the beginning of a new growth era for the USWNT, and for Visa as its supporter. The company’s sponsorship also includes the SheBelieves Cup, a four-team women’s international team tournament played in the United States each year.
We talked to Chris Curtin, Chief Brand, and Innovation Marketing Officer at Visa, about the ongoing five-year sponsorship, and how the company is planning to leverage this new relationship.
Portada: Why was now the right moment to lock a partnership with the U.S. Women’s National Team through 2023?
“Visa is partnering with the U.S. Women’s National Team because both the sport and the team are on the rise. We believe they represent the best values in Visa and we believe the sport is at a tipping point in popularity. Over the course of this summer, not just the performance of the team, but also the character will help advance the popularity of the sport in the United States and beyond.”
Portada: What does the sponsorship specifically include?
“Visa recently announced a five-year partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation in support of the U.S. Women’s National Team through 2023. As the Official Payment Technology Partner of the US Soccer Federation, Visa will also be the presenting sponsor of the SheBelieves Cup, an annual four-team international invitational. The tournament is based around U.S. Soccer’s SheBelieves initiative to inspire girls and young women to achieve greatness, an integral theme throughout Visa’s FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ campaign.”
Portada: Why did you choose to become the main sponsor of the SheBelieves Cup?
“Beyond the title and its mission – the main reason Visa sponsored the SheBelieves Cup is because it will be hosted in the United States and we think it is a nice precursor to the FIFA World Cup coming to the Americas. Also, the ability for younger female players in the United States to be able to attend the games and interact with the teams that will compete—at Visa, we believe those are really meaningful opportunities to be affiliated with.”
…we think it is a nice precursor to the FIFA World Cup coming to the Americas.
Portada: How will you leverage this sponsorship?
“Visa is best in class in terms of activating and supporting global sports properties and sponsorships. We use these moments in time to showcase the best of our brand and the future of payments to fans, media, and our partners.”
Portada: Which platforms will be key?
“At Visa, we try to focus on the right choreography with traditional and emerging platforms to live up to our tagline of ‘everywhere you want to be.'”
Portada: Who is your main target?
“We believe that this is the moment when women’s soccer is going to attract a broader audience and population. At Visa, we look forward to being a contributor to that outcome.”
This is the moment when women’s soccer is going to attract a broader audience and population.
Portada: How will you measure your return on investment?
“We look at all metrics, both for the impact of the brand but also the impact on the business. We are looking at the near term, midterm, and longer-term outcomes as a result of this particular effort.”
Portada: You have been described as the most progressive brand supporting women’s soccer. Do you agree with this term? Why?
“Personally, I do. It seems to be validated by those who are close to the sport and affiliated with the property. To be honest, our efforts are a source of great pride for the 16,000 employees that wake up every day and go work at Visa. We think it will serve as a beacon we stand for on our best days.”
Portada: Where in the market is women’s soccer now?
“The sport is only growing in popularity and I have consistently said that the tournament this summer will be a tipping point for the sport and this is one of the reasons we are so excited to be a part of this journey, particularly at this stage.”
Portada: What has been key for its growth?
“The quality of the play, as well as the character of the female footballers, are key for the growth of women’s football. Both have created a bond and connection with the audience, within the stadiums and beyond, which is contagious and growing.”
The quality of the play as well as the character of the female footballers are key for the growth of women’s football.
Portada: What makes it attractive for sponsors?
“Women’s soccer is attractive for sponsors as it provides an opportunity for your brand to make a statement about who you are and what you stand for. If at the end of the day, you only stand for mature well-established categories, then you are missing a lot of opportunities to stand for growth, development, and equality. Growth, development and equality are hallmarks of the Visa brand, both internally and externally.”