By: Ibrahim El-Shawarby
CAIRO, March. 11 (SEE)- Sports Franchise Nike unveiled football jerseys on Monday for 14 national teams ahead of this year’s Women’s World Cup in France and said it had signed a three-year promotion deal with UEFA Women’s Football, part of its growing focus on women’s sport. The Women’s World Cup will be held from June 7 to July 7.
The United States, Canada, France, England and Australia were among the teams whose kits were released at an event in Paris, graced by 28 of the world’s top women footballers. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, champion fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad and two-time Grand Slam winner Li Na also attended.
The company declined to give financial terms of the deal with European governing body UEFA, or the value of the individual national kit sponsorship deals. Both, however, are the latest sign of the growing financial power of women’s sport for sports goods makers like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour.
In the second quarter of the 2019 financial year, women’s footwear and apparel alone counted for nearly a quarter of Nike’s total revenue and it has said the women’s footwear and apparel market is now 1.5 times bigger than that for men. Wall Street brokerage Bernstein calculates women’s sporting gear pulled in $7 billion for Nike last year.
As a part of the partnership with UEFA, Nike will supply the match ball for exclusive use in women’s competitions including the Women’s Champions League, Women’s Euro and junior tournaments.
Nadine Kessler, UEFA’s head of women’s football said the partnership across competitions and campaigns 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.”
It also comes at a time when UEFA plans to increase its funding for women’s soccer development projects across Europe by 50 percent from 2020.
Global governing body FIFA, which has made women’s football a top priority, last year said it would look to double the number of female players to 60 million by 2026. It also said it would raise the prize money for this year’s World Cup from $15 million to $30 million.