Nike has become the latest global brand to join the UEFA Women’s Football programme following the unbundling of sponsorship rights from the European men’s game.
The sports brand will become the official match ball supplier for competitions including the UEFA Women’s Champions League and UEFA Women’s EURO as well as an official partner of the Together #WePlayStrong campaign.
It follows last year’s announcement of Visa as the first-ever main sponsor of UEFA Women’s Football in a seven-year deal.
Nike unveiled its own three-year partnership, which will take in 2021 UEFA Women’s EURO in England, at a launch event in Paris for the brand’s FIFA Women’s World Cup collections.
Nike 2019 National Team Kit Unveil pic.twitter.com/GDuPUzovCp— Nike (@Nike) March 11, 2019
The global sportswear manufacturer emphasised its commitment to supporting the growth of women’s sport by backing UEFA’s five-year plan to cement football as the leading female team sport in Europe.
Bert Hoyt, Nike’s VP/GM EMEA, explained: “Nike and UEFA share a common ambition, and that is for women’s football to realise its enormous potential.
“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.”
As part of the agreement, Nike will design a bespoke match ball for exclusive use in women's competitions, which will also include 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.
Commenting on the deal, Nadine Kessler, UEFA’s Head of Women’s Football, said: “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 represents another step forward for the commercialisation of the women’s game across Europe since UEFA reworked its sponsorship model in a move designed to accelerate the growth of women’s football competitions and get more girls and women playing football by creating new offerings.
Last week Visa committed to equal spending in its activation budget for the Women's game. Meanwhile, Lucozade Sport and Budweiser have both signed new deals to support the England Lionesses ahead of this summer's World Cup.