Nike has become the latest global brand to show its support for UEFA Women’s Football by becoming the official match ball supplier for competitions including the UEFA Women’s Champions League and UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 and an official partner of the Together #WePlayStrong campaign.
Hot on the heels of Visa, the payments technology company, becoming the first-ever main sponsor of UEFA Women’s Football in a seven-year deal, Nike has reiterated its commitment to the growth of the game by backing UEFA’s five-year plan to cement football as the leading female team sport in Europe.
Nike will also provide exclusive use of their official match ball to all UEFA Women’s Football competitions, including the UEFA Women’s Champions League, UEFA Women’s EURO, UEFA European Women’s Under-19 and Under-17 Championships and UEFA Women’s Futsal EURO.
The partnership will last up to and including the 2021 UEFA Women’s EURO in England and as part of the deal, Nike will design a bespoke match ball for exclusive use in women’s competitions, creating yet more distinction and creative opportunity for the game.
“We are delighted to have such a prestigious global brand such as Nike, who are committed to equality within sport and renowned for empowering female athletes all over the world,” said Nadine Kessler, UEFA’s head of women’s football.
“Becoming the official match ball supplier and supporter of UEFA Women’s Football across our competitions and campaigns, including Together #WePlayStrong, not only sends a powerful message that the game is now being judged and supported on its own merits, it underlines also its important milestones beyond the field of play.
“We took the step of separating the rights and partnerships from the men’s game, because at UEFA, we believe in it and with exactly the same belief and continuous commitment for the women’s game, we will aim to reach new heights together with Nike.
“We are jointly committed, using the same passion to evolve women’s football and inspire more people to enjoy the sport, whether they are watching or playing.”
The announcement is another significant step forward for the commercialisation of the women’s game across Europe, since UEFA took the bold step of breaking down the traditional sports sponsorship model by unbundling the sponsorship rights from the men’s game.
The move was designed to accelerate the growth of women’s football competitions and get more girls and women playing football by creating new offerings, which in turn would help support UEFA’s five-year strategic plan to make football the number one sport among girls and women across Europe.
“Nike and UEFA share a common ambition, and that is for women’s football to realise its enormous potential,” said Bert Hoyt, Nike’s VP/GM EMEA. “UEFA’s competitions represent the elite of club and international football and through our unparalleled innovation and support of the women’s game from elite to grassroots level, we will grow football for the next generation of young female players.”