Uefa Women’s Champions League sponsor Lay’s ready to “invest even more” in women’s sport

Uefa Women’s Champions League sponsor Lay’s believes the snack brand and other advertisers need to invest “even more” to support the continued growth of women’s sport, according to Ciara Dilley, the company’s global vice president of marketing.

Lay’s is a subsidiary of PepsiCo, which is a dedicated sponsor of Uefa’s women’s soccer properties as part of a five-year deal which expires next summer. The brand was also a regional partner of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup and in October became the first headline sponsor of the Saudi Women’s Premier League.

While Lay’s has become a prominent sponsor of women’s soccer, a recent survey of more than 14,000 adults across seven markets, including the UK, US and Australia, found that more than half of respondents feel that brands in general are not investing enough in women’s sports.

Dilley said it makes business sense to support women’s sport because it is going to “grow and grow”, but highlighted the role that brands have to play in continuing to invest in the properties they are partnered with.

“One of the things we passionately believe in is in order for women’s sports to grow, it needs people like us, it needs advertisers, people who are investing in the game to really shine a light on the sport,” she said. “It’s only that way, with the grassroots, with the investments in the game, that it will grow and grow.

“For us, it is a time where we’re excited about the growth of it. At the same time, we believe that we need to invest even more to maintain the momentum behind it. So we really want to invest behind it, shine a light, and bring some of the community activism around it.

“We are really excited about the focus on women’s sports. We think it’s only going to continue. But at the same time we see it as the onus is on us as a big supporter and advertiser to make sure we are investing and supporting it to continue to accelerate.”

To that end, Dilley said Lay’s is readying one of its “biggest ever” marketing campaigns for a Women’s Champions League final this weekend, with a series of activations planned around Saturday’s game between Barcelona and Lyon in Bilbao.

One activation will see Lay’s unveil a sustainable soccer field in the Spanish host city partially made from recycled crisp packets, which will be the 11th pitch launched globally as part of the brand’s Lay’s RePlay initiative. The new pitch in Bilbao will stage a five-on-five soccer tournament hosted by Gatorade, which is another PepsiCo brand.

Dilley said that initiative will form part of a “full three-day programme” of activity, which will also be attended by some of the brand’s ambassadors, as well as players from Athletic Bilbao’s men’s and women’s teams.

“It’s our biggest Women’s Champions League that we’ve ever done before,” Dilley said. “We’re really excited about how big it’s getting, and the support that’s coming from the fans, the professional teams, and the media. For us, it’s the biggest weekend ever. And the team have a number of activities over the weekend.”

PepsiCo is one of 11 brands that have signed up as sponsors of Uefa’s women’s programme since European soccer’s governing body unbundled the sponsorship rights to its women’s properties from the men’s. Other partners include Euronics, Grifols and Visa, and well as Amazon, Heineken and Just Eat Takeaway.com.

Those sponsors are benefitting from the growing popularity of the Women’s Champions League, the final of which last season generated 4.1 million live views on global broadcaster DAZN’s dedicated YouTube channel.

This season’s final, which took place at the 53,000-seater San Mamés Stadium, is once again was broadcast for free on DAZN’s YouTube channel, as well as by the likes of RTVE in Spain, TNT in the UK, and DF1 in Germany.

By SportsProMedia

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