Q&A: The FA on the launch of England Football

07 May 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

After The FA launched England Football - a new brand identity bringing together all the strands of the governing body's elite, grassroots, and fan engagement work - Sport Industry Group asked Georgina Lewis, Head of Marketing, The FA, about the move.


What is England Football and what does hope to achieve?

England Football is a new consumer-facing brand from The FA that represents, unites, and promotes football participation in England. 

England Football is all about connecting the grassroots game with England’s elite and delivering an enhanced football experience, both on and off the pitch. We want to inspire people to get involved in the game, stay in the game, and excel at whatever role they participate in – be that as a player, coach, referee or volunteer. 

At its core, we have created a dynamic and aspirational platform – EnglandFootball.com – that revolutionises how The FA delivers football in the digital age and creates more chances for people to play, coach, and support, while better rewarding people's passion for the game. 

Ultimately, England Football will play a crucial role in achieving several goals set out in The FA’s Time for Change strategy by inspiring greater grassroots participation, improving accessibility and engagement and building a stronger football community on and off the field.   
  
Why was now the right time to launch?

England Football has been a long-term project with the intention of launching ahead of UEFA EURO 2020. The number of active football fans increases significantly during major tournaments, so this period is the optimum time to get more people actively engaged with the game on a long-term basis.

With the Olympic Games to come in August, followed by the start of the new football season and the UEFA Women’s EUROs in 2022, this is an unprecedented period of major football events that will help maximise the number of people that connect and engage with England Football.

With the launch of England Football as a brand, where does The FA brand sit in this?

The FA remains unchanged in its role as the not-for-profit governing body of football in England and continues to oversee all England international teams and run FA competitions, including the Emirates FA Cup and Vitality Women's FA Cup, and operate the world-class facilities of Wembley Stadium connected by EE, and St. George’s Park - all with a purpose to unite the game and inspire the nation. 

It’s our hope that England Football brings clarity and understanding to the many roles that The FA plays and creates a new consumer-facing platform for us to communicate the impact of our role across grassroots, participation and learning.

Who were the agencies involved and what was the overall aim for the new visual identity and creative approach?  

The brand identity was developed in partnership with MATTA who did a great job leveraging the iconic nature of the Three Lions whilst providing a fresh purpose that symbolises inclusivity at all levels of football.

To support the launch, we commissioned a film that sought to capture the essence of football in England, from the grassroots game to England’s elite. We teamed-up with COPA90 and utilised their nationwide creator network to demonstrate the diversity and inclusivity of football the length and breadth of the country, while showcasing its centrality to local communities.

Launching as grassroots sport returns, is there an element of a ‘new beginning’ about The FA’s thinking on promoting recreational football and tying it to the elite teams?

Our commitment to promoting the grassroots game is longstanding. We unveiled a new four-year strategy in March and will invest over £180m into grassroots football to serve and lead the game during this period.

England Football provides a platform to leverage the strength and popularity of England teams to and positively impact grassroots participation, both on and off the pitch. Data from recent major tournaments shows just how much our elite England teams can inspire a generation to play football and stay in football.

We want football to be for all and to play a major role in getting the country active following the impact of COVID-19 – we strongly believe England Football will help us achieve that. We need to use this opportunity to get people back on the pitch as quickly as possible.  

What are the commercial opportunities The FA sees from launching the new England Football hub?

England Football will enable The FA to better showcase more of the incredible work done in the grassroots game, and hero some of the individuals and clubs that are the lifeblood of the football community. This will help us drive more positivity around the work we do, drive growth in participation and engagement across the game and deliver greater value for our partners. 

England Football provides our commercial partners with even better visibility and participation in their products. For example, through the My England Football rewards programme, many of our partners - including Nike, LG and Lucozade - are able to reward our fans and build a direct relationship. We have affiliate programmes offering a direct revenue opportunity for partners and discounts for our members, it’s a real win-win.