November 3, 2021

Eddy Sidani

Manager, Brand & Partnerships

FIFA Women's World Cup, WTA, WNBA reclaim top 3 women's sport properties of 2021

Using SportsPro's 50 Most Marketable Properties list powered by SponsorPulse data, we list and discuss the top 5 most marketable women's sport properties across the globe.

Two weeks removed from the release of SportsPro’s 2021 50MM Properties list, many trends and nuances have been discussed surrounding the annual ranking of the world’s most marketable sport properties.

Themes such as cause-based messaging unique to sport properties, the importance of (properties) acting like brands and tapping into influencer marketing, and a growing interest in less-traditional sports have resulted in interesting water-cooler conversations and debates. Today, we’re here to open another area of discussion through the 50MM list by breaking down the five most marketable women’s sport properties across the globe.

Compared to last year, four of the five properties have retained their place among the top 5 in ranking. However, with many changes in scoring and a new inclusion that was able to crack this year’s list, we can identify some changes in consumer sentiment and behavior among global consumers with these properties. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the Top 5 Most Marketable Women’s Sport Properties of 2021.

WTA - Women's Tennis Association
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WNBA - Women's National Basketball Association
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IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship
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WTA - Women's Tennis Association
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WNBA - Women's National Basketball Association
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IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship
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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
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FIFA Women's World Cup, WTA, WNBA reclaim top 3 women's sport properties of 2021
1) FIFA Women’s World Cup

For the second year running, the world’s largest international women’s soccer competition has claimed its place as the most marketable women’s sport property across the globe. Ranked as the 18th most marketable sport property across the board, the prestigious tournament dropped 5 places from last year’s SP50MM list.

Previously, the soccer property posted an international Opportunity Score (SponsorPulse’s universal, insight-driven currency) of 28 - likely a result of the lingering buzz following the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. However, being two years removed from both the most recent and upcoming editions of the competition, the FIFA Women’s World Cup receives an international Opportunity Score of 23.2 this time around. As we get closer to the 2023 tournament in Australia and New Zealand, we can expect to see an increase in all consumer metrics across the globe with this property. Of the 18 global markets that SponsorPulse operates in, the host nation of Australia ranks 15th when analyzing sponsorship opportunities for the FIFA Women's World Cup. The time zone factor will likely increase engagement levels among consumers in the Asia-Pacific region, and the momentum behind the Canadian Women's National Team's recent gold medal victory at Tokyo 2020 Olympics will also boost interest among Canadians.

We expect to see the Women's World Cup grow and reach new highs as 2023 is just around the corner away and many APAC and Canadian-based brands will be looking to get involved and build an association with the property.

All things considered, it’s going to take something special for a new property to claim the throne from this reigning champion!

2) Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)

Retaining its silver medal for the second year in a row, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is ranked as the second most marketable women’s sport property of 2021. Similar to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the WTA saw a bit of a drop in this year’s SP50MM list as it fell 9 places from last year, making it the 39th most marketable sport property overall.

Following suit from 2020, the WTA receives an international Opportunity Score of 20.1 and once again edges out its male counterpart in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), rightfully claiming its title as the most marketable tennis property across the globe. Having landed official global partners such as Porsche, SAP and iQIYI, the WTA has certainly created a product that would make Billie Jean King and the Original 9 proud. It also helps that the second most marketable athlete in the world (Naomi Osaka) is currently the face of the entire sport of tennis.

With CVC still in advanced talks of combining the WTA and the ATP under a single commercial entity, the new tennis organization may become one of the hottest commodities in sport and find itself ranking much higher in future lists.

3) Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)

According to the SP50MM Properties list, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is once again the third most marketable women’s sport property across the globe. Raising its international Opportunity Score from 14 to 16.1, the leading women’s basketball property is the 67th ranked international sport property overall.

The major league has been praised for its continued efforts on bringing awareness and attention to social justice issues and has done especially well in signing key partners such as Google, AT&T, Deloitte and Nike. The WNBA works very closely with its male counterpart in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the third most marketable sport property in the world, and exemplifies how sibling-leagues can work together to help one another grow. The motto and campaign for the 25th season, “Count It”, honors the ‘impossible shots’ that the league and its athletes have overcome since its inception in 1997. The WNBA effectively merges cause and high-performance competition, making it one of the most attractive sport leagues for brands to consider sponsoring.

With some of the improved exposure in broadcast and other channels we expect to see the WNBA continue to grow and thrive over years to come. Brands will most definitely want to pay attention to be a part of this important (and critical) shift!

4) IIHF Women’s Hockey Championship

Ranking as the fourth most marketable women’s sport property in the globe, the IIHF Women’s World Championship (WWC) receives an international Opportunity Score of 15.2. Moving up seven places from 2020 (likely because this was a competition year), the IIHF WWC is the 81st most marketable sport property in this year’s SP50MM Properties list.

After COVID-19 forced the postponement and relocation of the tournament (like many other sporting events in the past two years), the IIHF and Hockey Canada pledged to explore all avenues available to ensure the competition would be played in 2021. The premier international women’s ice hockey event was eventually played behind closed doors in Calgary, Alberta after a strong push from the competing athletes such as United States team captain Kendall Coyne Schofield. Key partners for this year’s tournament included organizations such as TSN, Telus, Tim Horton’s, Esso, and Nike.

5) FA Women’s Super League

A new addition to this year’s list, the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL) is the fifth most marketable women’s sport property in the world. Receiving an international Opportunity Score of 14.4, the FA WSL is the 98th most marketable sport property overall.

Established in 2010 and currently sponsored by Barclays (among others), the FA WSL is the highest league of women’s soccer in England and arguably one of the largest in the world. Riding the momentum of women’s soccer across the globe, the league has seen a increase in attendance and a rise in TV viewership. Just enough to crack the top 100 overall and cement itself in the top 5 most marketable women’s sport properties for 2021.

Other women’s sport properties to keep an eye on who we expect to see rise over the next 12 months include the W-Series, National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), Division 1 Féminine, Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Women’s Softball World Championship, FIVB Women’s Beach Volleyball, FIG Gymnastics World Championship, and many more.

Brands looking to connect with consumers through women’s sport should not only consider partnering with leagues and teams, but also by endorsing the athletes themselves. According to the SP50MM Athletes list, the three most marketable athletes in the world (as well as five of the top 10) are all female. Interestingly, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, and Ashlyn Harris have each courageously shared personal experiences with mental health and are all advocates for further research and awareness in this area. Something that is salient among consumers today.

To learn more about the SP50MM and to download the full list, click here!

WTA - Women's Tennis Association
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WNBA - Women's National Basketball Association
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IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship
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WTA - Women's Tennis Association
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View all properties
WNBA - Women's National Basketball Association
View free report
View all properties
IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship
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View all properties

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