The SWPL announced a historic sponsorship deal for the SWPL 1 and SWPL 2 as Scottish Building Society agreed to sponsor the league over the next three years.
The three-and-a-half years deal, worth six-figures, is the first title sponsor for Scotland’s top two senior leagues. Not only will the investment allow the continued growth of the game, it means that from 2018, the League Winners will be awarded prize money.
Scottish Building Society is the oldest Building Society in the UK and is Scotland’s only independent building society.
We Believe That There Is Great Potential For It In Scotland
Their Chief Executive, Mark Thomson, stated, “As a proud Scottish brand, we are delighted to be joining forces with Scottish Women’s Football to help unlock the potential of the sport and support its future development here in Scotland. Scottish Building Society is firmly rooted in local communities across Scotland where we have helped people save for the future and buy their homes since 1848. This is an exciting time for women’s football and we look forward to working with Scottish Women’s Football to develop the sport over the coming years.”
When asked why they had invested in the SWPL, Thomson talked about the potential in the game. “We’ve seen what’s happened across the world with women’s football and how it’s taken off, particularly in the States and continental Europe – and of course in England. We believe that there is great potential for it in Scotland.”
But he also felt that the SWPL worked well within the ethos of the Building Society, adding, “We do a lot of work in local communities. We are very much a local community-based building society. And we feel that a lot of the work done at the grassroots falls within the ethics and values that we see through our other charity work. We also see that as the sport grows in Scotland, there will be opportunities for our name to be associated with it. And we believe that we both have positive brands and there are certain synergies in working together.”
Player Of Month Competitions
The investment from Scottish Building Society is not just about the monetary value, but how the company are willing to promote the game. They have 33,000 members and 60 outlets in the country, and Thomson felt that their membership would actually be turned into fans of Scottish Women’s Football through the deal. The Building Society has a magazine for the members, and they would provide content on the SWPL in there, and they would run Player of the Month competitions on their website.
The Chair of the Scottish Women’s Football (SWF), Vivienne MacLaren, was delighted by the deal, saying, “It has been a wonderful year for women’s football in Scotland and this is the icing on the cake. We have new appointments at the SWF team, we’ve seen a surge in media interest and now, we have a new major sponsor. Everything is moving in the right direction.”
When the SWPL reconstruction was launched in 2016, MacLaren had made the point that the SWPL didn’t want to take sponsorship deals from gambling or alcohol companies, believing that they had a moral duty towards young girls. It is clear that any wait that this attitude has created has been worth it, as this feels more of a partnership, rather than an opportunity for advertising from the sponsor.
She touched upon this at the press conference, saying, “I think Scottish Building Society’s community footprint ties in really nicely with the work that Donald and the guys at the SFA are doing, in terms of the soccer schools which are in different regions, it ties in with the footprint of the clubs as well.”
The newly appointed Executive Officer of the SWF, Fiona McIntyre, stated, “As the women’s game continues to grow, having the support of an organisation such as Scottish Building Society will help us achieve our vision of being a world-class women’s footballing nation. On behalf of the clubs, players and staff, we would like to thank them for their investment.”
We Want To Return As Much Of The Investment To The Clubs As Possible
“We want to return as much of the investment to the clubs as possible, which in turn will allow the clubs to invest in their own infrastructure, players, coaches – which will improve the quality of the game. But we also want to improve the profile. We’ve made inroads in the game in the past few years, but we also want to invest some of the funds in the profile, making sure it is as visible as possible, and that football is an option for all girls and women.”
With a newly relaunched SWPL website, McIntyre is looking to improve the content that the SWPL provides, realising the importance in promoting the game.
We are looking at investing in a sort of match of the fortnight or week. At the moment, we don’t have a lot of video product of our fixtures, which makes it hard to promote us as a brand. We’re looking at investing in getting weekly or bi-weekly coverage of our fixtures, that we can then use that digital content on our website and we can then distribute that future into the wider media, so women’s football is more visible.”
Aberdeen’s Megan Reid. “Think it’s absolutely brilliant, more money in the league, promoting the girls and giving us more exposure.”
EUHV’s Jude Shepherd. “It’s going to raise the profile of the game even more.”
Spartans’ Alana Marshall. “I think it’s really good as it will help future development – the money can go a long way if it is used in the right way.”
Stirling’s Chloe Logan. “It’s great to hear that we’re having so much invested into Scottish Women’s Football from a big Scottish Brand. It really shows the ambition of SWF and the growth we’ve had in the past few years.”
Glasgow Girls’ Charmaine McGuire. “I think it’s really good for the investment in football, especially for young girls at the grassroots level that are coming up. I think it’s a company that’s been around for so many years. I think the money is going to go a long way to help the rise in the ladies game.”
Jeanfield’s Jade McDonald. “I think it’s really good, it’s a good start for the up-and-coming players that are going to come through. Hopefully, it will improve it for the younger players that are coming through, think it’s really good to have that base from the new sponsor.”
Forfar Farmington’s Kayleigh Brough. “I think it’s brilliant for both the leagues coming together, getting a big lump sum of money, although we’re not sure where the money is going right now, 50% of it’s going to the clubs which is brilliant.”