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Why brands should be looking to align with the AFLW

Technology & Data

Why brands should be looking to align with the AFLW


Since its debut in 2017, the AFLW has picked up momentum. More teams being added to the roster each year means more people tuning in. But, why are brands taking time to align with the sport?

Research agency Neuro-Insight has recently undertaken a study to look at the attitudes of the public towards the AFLW. The insights tell an interesting story – fans are investing in the growth of female sports.

When compared with the AFL, the AFLW possesses a generally positive attitude from its fans. Neuro-Insights looked at six key attributes with which to ask respondents: professional, skillful, weak, boring, entertaining and empowering. Explicitly, the AFLW and AFL were both considered to be professional, skillful and entertaining. The AFLW in the 18-49 category was seen as empowering.

Live sport advertising

Previous research by Neuro-Insights has proven the effectiveness of in-game advertising. The research showed that advertising within live sports broadcasts is more than 12 percent more effective than a TV ad-break.

Advertising in female sports

Fans are engaging and investing in the growth of female sport. As tennis world number one Ash Barty continues to bring in over a million viewers per match, the world of female sports is proving to be lucrative. But, advertising is still prioritised to the men’s equivalent. 

What does this mean for brands? 

Now is the time to strike. In 2021, the AFLW hit a record for memberships purchased. Neuro-Insights senior analyst Casey Kudrenko spoke to Marketing mag about the opportunity for brands.

“Across the years we have proven that sport is such a rich and fertile environment for brands to gain meaningful brand attribution. The benefit of understanding the true perceptions towards the AFLW would be to efficiently and effectively reach consumers and guide future pro-social behaviour.

“The AFLW is increasing its traction, and brands have an opportunity to grow with the sport,” Kurdrenko says about brands aligning with the AFLW. 

How can brands look to connecting with the AFLW?

According to Kudrenko, it will begin with looking at strategy. What language, concept and implicit themes are currently being implemented? 

“Are they implementing tactics to combat the AFLW as being ‘weak’ or will it support that it is perceived as ‘professional’?” Kudrenko encourages brands to ask. 

As the views towards women’s sports experience a significant shift, brands have an opportunity to align with an important social movement. The next step beyond alignment will be creating positive messaging and branding that associate with the public’s explicit views of the sport.

Liv Croagh

Liv Croagh was the Managing Editor of Marketing Mag from September 2021 to September 2023.

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