Heineken Updates Campaign With Focus On Women Fans And Players

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While the USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation was a monumental victory in 2022, the fight for equality in sports, and in particular women’s soccer, marches on.

Lately, more investors, broadcasters, brand partners and fans are seeing the value in supporting women’s soccer as the playing field gets closer to being level.

Campaigns, Messaging and Promotions

Heineken is doing its part to tackle gender stereotypes in soccer and promote fan inclusivity through campaigns, messaging and promotions tied to its “Cheers to All Fans” campaign, which was seen prominently throughout the men’s and women’s 2022/23 UEFA Champions League competitions, which concluded earlier this month as Manchester City bested Inter 1-0, while FC Barcelona Femení rallied to beat Wolfsburg 3-2.

“Attitudes towards women’s football have definitely been changing for the better over the past couple of years, and it’s thanks to active sponsors like Heineken who are driving the inclusivity message through Fresher Football as part of their ‘Cheers To All Fans’ campaign,” said former Arsenal and England defender Alex Scott. “However, there’s no doubt that female fans, pundits and players still are subject to sexism in football.

“Anyone can be a fan of sport, regardless of gender, and it’s time to remember this and keep fighting to level the playing field.”

An estimated 66% of women in soccer have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, according to a 2020 Women in Football members’ survey, with 34% witnessing gender-based discrimination while only 12% of incidents were reported.

Heineken, a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League since 1994 and a UEFA Euro 2020 and UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 sponsor, introduced its campaign ahead of the 2022/23 season. “Cheers To All Fans … Men Included” is the brand’s campaign which showcases the passion of female fans, while “Fresher Football” looks at the correct responses to the most popular questions asked online about the UEFA Champions League where many answers tended to overlook key data around the women’s game.

The brand’s reinforced messaging around the game comes at a time when women’s soccer is seeing more support and popularity than ever before.

Growing Women’s Soccer Audience

With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand kicking off in less than a month, in which Heineken is not a sponsor, FIFA announced a new broadcast deal with the European Broadcasting Union and a new financial distribution model to benefit teams and players, while the event has already sold more than 1.033 million tickets to surpass total sales from the 2019 tournament in France.

Domestically, the 2022/23 UEFA Women’s Champions League Final at PSV Stadion in Eindhoven, Netherlands, was the tournament’s first sellout final since 2009/10 and the largest attendance (33,147) for a women’s soccer game in the Netherlands.

At the Final, Heineken unveiled its “Cheers to You” campaign, featuring billboards highlighting the diversity and passion of women’s soccer fans.

A month earlier, a record 77,390 were at Wembley Stadium on May 14 to watch Chelsea defeat Manchester United to win its third consecutive Women’s FA Cup title.

FC Barcelona set the highest attendance for a women’s soccer match when 91,648 fans packed into Camp Nou in April 2022 for the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinal match against Wolfsburg.

In September 2022, Arsenal set the Women’s Super League attendance record (47,367) in England, while San Diego Wave FC set the NWSL single-game attendance of 32,000 for a match against Angel City FC.

“We have seen record-breaking growth of the women’s game,” said Heineken global PR lead JD O’Lone. “It’s been amazing to see this wave of support, and helped energize us in our role to elevate the fan experience so when new and old fans watch or attend matches, they can get maximum enjoyment out of it. We continue to strive for inclusivity through activations, events and content giving fans something to get behind and showcase their love for the beautiful game.”

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