Women's Football Sports Marketing Marketing

Powerful storytelling in women’s sport won’t end with the World Cup

By Cristina Thompson, Head of strategy



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July 26, 2023 | 7 min read

Clickon’s Cristina Thompson tells the story of a renaissance in powerful storytelling around women’s sport, including some of the agency’s own work with activewear brand Under Armour.

A woman and a football

Clickon on storytelling in women's sport marketing / Andy Macfarlane via Unsplash

For over three decades, the USA’s women's national team (USWNT) has reigned supreme in football, clinching four Olympic titles and four World Cups. Their relentless efforts also extended beyond the field, as they campaigned tirelessly to pass a bill ensuring equal compensation for US women participating in international events.

Concurrently, the impressive achievements of England's Lionesses (including victory at Euro 2022) and the growing influence of generation Z, who prioritize meaningful causes, have contributed to a remarkable transformation in women’s football.

Storytelling in women’s sports has emerged as a potent tool for attracting a wider audience and advancing gender equality in the game. Brands like Under Armour have wholeheartedly embraced this approach, propelling women’s sports forward.

On the team

Collaborating with Under Armour, Clickon embarked on a groundbreaking campaign last year to uncover female athletes’ compelling stories in a 4-part video series. The series aimed to empower the next generation of athletes and make sports accessible for women everywhere, showcasing real athletes who overcame obstacles to achieve greatness. The series resonated with millions of teenagers across various platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

At the heart of the campaign was the concept of teamwork, emphasizing that no athlete succeeds alone. The support and guidance of teammates, parents, friends, trainers, and teachers play a pivotal uplifting and guiding role, particularly when we face challenges or lose our way. The inspiring stories shared through the campaign served as a catalyst for change and motivated young women to fearlessly pursue their sporting dreams while advocating for equal access to sports.

The series featured athletes like footballer Sam Gordon, who became an inspiration in her community by defying societal norms and providing equal opportunities for like-minded women to participate in sports. Sam’s legacy is just the beginning of a revolution, as she inspires future generations to be courageous and fight for gender equality in sports.

Authenticity, relatability and participation

Aliyah Boston, a college basketball player born in the US Virgin Islands, has been instrumental in expanding access to the sport for young girls with limited opportunities. She recently achieved another milestone when she was named a starter for the 2023 WNBA all-star game, only the sixth rookie in league history to earn this honor.

Today, Boston leads her own basketball camp in the Virgin Islands, providing young girls with the chance to engage in the sport she is passionate about and helping them realize their full potential. Reflecting on her own success, Boston emphasizes, “Leaving home to play basketball was a dream of mine, but now that I am getting national attention for my hard work, I want girls to believe that their dreams of playing basketball could come true here.”

By amplifying women's voices through storytelling, this work connects with popular culture and taps into new audiences. As the Fifa Women's World Cup progresses, there is anticipation surrounding the emerging stories of the tournament. Many players have grassroots narratives waiting to be unveiled, making them even more appealing to fans. Authenticity and transparency are valued by audiences, as they yearn to know who these athletes truly are and what they stand for.

Gen Z, a generation known for its passion for authenticity and social causes, resonates deeply with female athletes who share their real stories. This generation seeks relatability and finds inspiration in athletes who openly discuss their challenges, successes, and their paths to greatness. Their transparency and vulnerability make them relatable role models for gen Z, encouraging them to pursue their dreams fearlessly.

According to a recent study, the trajectory of women in sport has been steadily rising. In the past decade, women's participation in sports has increased by 20%, and female athletes have gained more recognition and opportunities. This positive trend reflects the ongoing efforts to promote gender equality in sports and the growing interest and support for women’s athletic achievements. Storytelling plays a significant role in this trajectory, and the power of narratives has the potential to open up women’s sports to even larger audiences.

By championing storytelling in women’s sports, brands can contribute to the ongoing transformation and growth of the game. By shedding light on the personal journeys, triumphs, and struggles of female athletes, they create a connection between fans and players, inspiring a new generation of women to push boundaries and demand equal opportunities. Through these captivating stories, women's sports continue to gain recognition, visibility, and support on a global scale.

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