Women's World Cup TV Advertising
The Women’s World Cup has surged in popularity in the U.S. in recent years, culminating in record TV viewership for the U.S. women’s national soccer team’s fourth World Cup championship run this past week. However, if ad dollars are any measure, the Women’s World Cup tournament still has a way to go before equaling the popularity of other major sporting events in the U.S.
According to Kantar data, advertisers spent $42.6 million on U.S. television ads shown during the Women’s World Cup this year, with the vast majority, $40.7 million, earned by the Fox television network and the remainder going to its cable channel Fox Sports 1.
For comparison, Kantar reported total national TV ad spend for this year’s Super Bowl was $482 million, while last year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament generated $1.3 billion over the month of March, and the 2018 World Series and NBA Finals generated $305 million and $208 million, respectively.
Still, there were plenty of top brands eager to connect with the Women’s World Cup U.S. audience this year. With $3.3 million in TV ad spend, Verizon was the top advertiser during the competition, followed closely by Wells Fargo and Google, which each spent $3.2 million on TV spots. Volkswagen ($3.1 million) and Nike ($2.7 million) rounded out the top five.
In terms of ad creative, many of the top ads by spend appeared targeted to appeal to both female viewers and soccer fans, with themes meant to inspire young athletes, particularly girls, and to generally convey that the advertiser has a social conscience.
In perhaps a sign of the times, Verizon promoted its disaster preparedness for hurricanes, including having mobile units on the scene to enable a mom to let her family know that she and her kids were okay after their house was destroyed.
Volkswagen sought to inspire viewers to “drive something bigger than yourself”—namely its electric minivan—while featuring people engaged in various acts of thoughtfulness and environmental consciousness.
Nike encouraged girls to follow their athletic dreams in a spot that showed female athletes of varying ages marching and running toward greater glory and another women’s soccer-themed ad that urged girls to “change the world”.
Google’s top ad featured kids as well, but the focus was on moms and the ability of its Google Nest Hub device to help them address their children’s unending demands.