- Tournament to be known as Vitality Women’s FA Cup until July 2023
- Deal starts with delayed 2019/20 quarter-finals
- Competition had been without a title sponsor since SSE departure
Health and life insurance provider Vitality has been unveiled as the new title sponsor of the Women’s FA Cup.
The three-year deal, which runs until July 2023, will see the premier knockout competition for women’s soccer clubs in England renamed the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
The agreement starts with the delayed quarter-finals of the 2019/20 competition, which are due to take place on 26th and 27th September.
The Women’s FA Cup has been without a title sponsor since British energy firm SSE’s four-year deal came to an end in 2019.
The financial terms of the agreement with Vitality have not been reported, although The Guardian described the deal as the ‘most lucrative’ in the history of the Women’s FA Cup.
Kelly Simmons, director of the women’s professional game at English soccer’s Football Association (FA), said: “We recognise that during a very difficult time for everyone, this is a big commitment that Vitality has made in becoming primary sponsor of the Women’s FA Cup, and I'm really looking forward to working with them as we look to grow the competition.
“This partnership not only highlights the affection that so many have for the Women’s FA Cup, but it also demonstrates the growing interest in the women’s game, which is something I know Vitality is keen to develop alongside us.”
As part of the deal, Vitality has vowed to work alongside English soccer’s national governing body to drive visibility of the women’s game and inspire more girls and women to participate in sports.
The agreement extends Vitality’s commitment to women’s sport, building on its sponsorship of England Netball and several women’s soccer teams.
Nick Read, managing director for Vitality, added: “We've been involved in both football and supporting women’s sport for many years, and today’s announcement highlights our commitment to the women’s game.
“There's never been a more important time to be involved in women’s football, and by working with the FA we hope to drive visibility of the women team, showcasing this great sport and encouraging millions more people get active and play football, in line with our core purpose to make people healthier and enhance and protect their lives.”
The deal is the latest commercial boost for the women’s domestic game in England. Last year saw Barclays become the first-ever title sponsor of the top-flight Women’s Super League (WSL) in a deal worth a reported UK£10 million (US$12.8 million) over three years.
For the new 2020/21 season, the WSL recently secured coverage in the US for the first time through a deal with NBC Sports, while sports streaming subscription service DAZN is showing the league in Germany and Italy. Both of those agreements were brokered by Atalanta Media, a new women’s soccer company.
This year’s Women’s FA Cup final is scheduled to take place at London’s Wembley Stadium on 1st November. Last season’s final, which saw Manchester City beat West Ham United, was watched by a peak audience of 2.2 million.