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What: Women’s sports in Mexico got a big boost with espnW’s expansion into Mexico.
Why it matters: The move gives brands a new opportunity to capture the growing Latina market, one which has likely been underserved to date.

Claudia Trejos

Jessica Mendoza (@jessmendozajust completed her third season in the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball booth. Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPNcovered the New York Yankees (@Yankeesbeat from 2012-16 and remains one of the most respected Latina sports reporters in baseball. Maria Guardado (@mi_guardado) (MLB.com) and Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) (L.A. Timesare beginning to make their marks on the Los Angeles Angels beat. Mary Joe Fernandez, Antonietta Collins, Claudia Trejos, Julia Morales and others have been delivering the news and getting scoops in various sports, some for years, making important inroads for Hispanic women in the space.

In what can be seen as the next major step for Latina reporters, ESPN on Sunday launched its espnW brand in Mexico. The site, which has featured journalism from the best in the business, reporting on sports from the female perspective, makes its bow in conjunction with Semana de la Mujer, ESPN’s breast cancer awareness week, running through October 19.

The Portada Brands-Sports Summit in Los Angeles on March 15, 2019 (Hotel Loews Santa Monica) will provide a unique setting for brand marketers to learn about the opportunities sports and soccer content offers to engage consumers in the U.S. and Latin America.

“For generations, women in Mexico have been breaking barriers in the world of sports — on and off the field,” said Gerardo Casanova, vice president and general manager, ESPN Latin America North, Mexico and Central America, in a statement. “The launch of espnW in Mexico is a significant milestone for the ESPN brand and re-enforces our commitment to better serve an increasingly powerful segment of our audience.”

The power and influence sports have – and can have – for girls and women across the world is well-documented.
Cristina Alexander

Some of the statistics that ESPN cites at the launch of espnW (@espnWMexico include a 23% female audience on digital; 1:40 hours per day that women spend on the ESPN platform; and a monthly reach of 937,000 women at ESPN.com. Semana de la Mujer content powered by espnW will include work by such notable latinas as Cristina Alexander, Katia Castorena, Kary Correa, Paulina García, Vanessa Huppenkothen, Marisa Lara, Rebeca Landa, Miroslava Montemayor, Carolina Padrón, Elizabeth Patiño, Nelly Simón, Claudia Trejos, Carolina Guillén, Carolina de las Salas and Pilar Perez on various platforms from Bristol, Miami, Los Angeles and Mexico.

“The success of ESPN in Mexico made it the next logical destination for the espnW brand,” said Laura Gentile, senior vice president, marketing, ESPN. “The power and influence sports have – and can have – for girls and women across the world is well-documented. We look forward to highlighting amazing storytelling for women and female athletes from all over Mexico.”

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The talent drain at ESPN in the past couple of years has hit the sports media world hard; amazing multimedia journalists like Jane McManus, Melissa Isaacson and Johnette Howard were among those axed. The hope with the expansion of the espnW brand into Mexico is that great journalists can tell great stories about Latina women in sports in the region as well as cover events and athletes who so far have eluded mainstream attention.

This can also be a boon for marketers, with brands like Toyota (@Toyota), Wells Fargo (@WellsFargo), Gatorade (@Gatorade), Olay (@OlaySkin), Always (@Always), and other that have supported espnW having the opportunity to extend their reach south. It will be interesting to see which ones choose to do so, and which new partners may emerge targeting the female Mexican consumer. The timing to boost espnW may be just right; with 2019 Women’s World Cup looming, the U.S. and Canada having punched their tickets on Sunday with Concacaf (@ConcacafWomen’s Championship semifinal wins and Panama and Jamaica vying for the third automatic spots. While Mexico narrowly missed out on a spot in the semifinals, interest in the sport remains high, with Liga MX Femenil (@LIGABancomerMXcurrently in its second year of operation as the professional women’s league there.

Cover Image: courtesy FIBA

What: FIFA has announced its plans for growing women’s soccer worldwide.
Why it matters: For FIFA, increased participation will mean increased interest in the women’s game, leading to more marketing opportunities for brands as well.

Victory Lap (Wikimedia Commons/Nicki Dugan Pogue)

If for years it has seemed like FIFA (@FIFAcomhas concentrated, say, 99 44/100% of its energies on the men’s game, it’s probably not an illusion. And while the Women’s World Cup (@FIFAWWChas helped the ladies version gain popularity since the U.S. won the inaugural event in 1991, soar after the American victory in 1999, and reach new heights following the 2015 U.S. win over Japan in Canada, the lion’s share of the organizing body’s attention has focused on the men in the 100+ years since its 1904 founding.

The Portada Brand-Sports Summit in Los Angeles on March 15, 2019 (Hotel Loews Santa Monica) will provide a unique setting for brand marketers to learn about the opportunities sports and soccer content offers to engage consumers in the U.S. and Latin America.

With the worldwide opportunities that the women’s game now possesses, FIFA recently unveiled a new global strategy, with a stated goal of doubling women’s participation to 60 million across the globe. With the Women’ World Cup looming next summer in France, now is the time for FIFA and its Confederations to step up, and for marketers to take advantage. In fact, the Concacaf (@Concacafwomen’s championship, which determines the World Cup qualifiers, is going on now through Oct. 17.

Most importantly it will make football more accessible to girls and women and encourage female empowerment.
Sarai Bareman (via Twitter)

In what many followers of the women’s game saw as at least a good first step, two years ago FIFA set up its first Women’s Football Division, run by Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman (@SarBareman), a New Zealand native who competed for Samoa, the homeland of her mother. That same year, Fatma Samoura (@fatma_samouraof Senegal was appointed as the first female Secretary General of FIFA. These were two of the first significant moves by Gianni Infantino after replacing Sepp Blatter as FIFA’s president.

“As FIFA’s first female Secretary General I am proud to launch our first-ever global strategy for women’s football,” said Samoura in a statement. “The women’s game is a top priority for FIFA and via our new strategy we will work hand-in-hand with our 211 member associations around the world to increase grassroots participation, enhance the commercial value of the women’s game and strengthen the structures surrounding women’s football to ensure that everything we do is sustainable and has strong results. Most importantly it will make football more accessible to girls and women and encourage female empowerment, a subject of great importance, now more than ever before.”

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(Wikimedia Commons-GoToVan)

In 2015, with the Canada location providing more TV-friendly match times than the previous two Cups in China (2007) and Germany (2011), FIFA broadcast partner Fox attracted brands like Nationwide (@Nationwideand Fiat (@fiatalong with U.S. Soccer’s official sponsors Mondelez, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet and Johnson & Johnson.

Now, pool prize money increases, additional grassroots plans, and commitments to placing women in leadership positions on FIFA committees and in every member association are also part of the initiative. With the U.S. vs. Japan 2015 final attracting nearly 27 million viewers here, the most for any soccer match involving a U.S. team (men or women), interest among sponsors for the 2019 tournament should be at an all-time high.

Cover Image: credit Nicki Dugan Pogue/Wikimedia Commons