Orchard became headline sponsor for the first time in 2016 in the biggest commercial deal in the history of the competition. As the league celebrates its 10th anniversary, they have just signed up for the 2019/20 season to once again help sustain the women’s game in Wales...
We caught up with Orchard’s Head of Marketing, Emma Wordley, to discuss the sponsorship and its importance to Orchard.
Q: So, having sponsored the league for the previous 3 years, what was the deciding factor to sponsor again?
A: Having worked with the FAW in some capacity for over 10 years now, we have built a great working relationship with them, supporting them with our vast range of services from event managing match days involving both men and women, and producing their Awards ceremonies and press conferences. We have also made video case studies of all the women’s clubs in the league, plus two TV programmes for BBC Wales, Women in Red, on last season’s successful run of the Welsh women’s national team. Our team have also recently managed the Champions Festival out in Madrid for the UEFA Champions League Final earlier this summer. So, you could say that we have always been dedicated sports fans! So, when the opportunity to sponsor the women’s league came about, we jumped at the chance.
Over the last 3 years, we have seen both the women’s game and the league grow from strength to strength, and the resilience and passion that not only the players have for the sport, but also everyone involved from the coaching staff to the fans is contagious. We share this with our own passion for women’s sport, so the fit is perfect for us!
With the very recent launch of the new brand identity for the women’s game in Wales - #BeFootball (head over to @becymru on Instagram to join the conversation...) it is a very exciting time to be part of the growth and makes us even more committed to the women’s game and our sponsorship.
Q: What makes this sponsorship different?
A: Because of our own passion in women's sport in Wales we wanted the sponsorship to be more than just a financial transaction. Throughout the last 3 years, we have got to know and understand the league and the people behind it. These are the people that make the League what it is today, and we wanted to highlight the hard work, dedication and commitment that goes into attending training and matches every Sunday – not just the players but the backroom staff as well who give up so much of their time to keep the league alive. So, last year we offered a PR package to boost the league’s profile by promoting these people and their stories, which culminated in us hosting an event for International Women’s Day - #WhoInspiresYou - giving others the opportunity to listen to the stories as well and get inspired themselves. Getting to know some of them was a huge privilege and we loved hearing their stories. It certainly was inspiring!
Plans for this season? More stories, more promoting and more building on last season so, watch this space!
Q: How does Orchard’s sponsorship benefit the Welsh Premier Women’s League?
A: Well... it’s been beneficial to both parties really. We feel so proud when we talk about the sponsorship with our clients and see the Orchard WPWL logo and brand - and that excitement hasn't waned after 3 years. But of course, our sponsorship is so much more than that. Over the last 3 years, our sponsorship has helped to sustain the grassroots of the women’s game in Wales with the money going directly into the community and local clubs. There are some great ideas and opportunities coming through that will enhance the future experience of the game for everyone – players, coaches, staff and fans - and it’s great to see our sponsorship boosting the sport at club level to ensure long-term benefit. It gives us those fluffy good feels!
Q: What are you most looking forward to this season?
A: With it being the leagues’ 10th Anniversary, this season has an added element of excitement to it (and the fact that my hometown Aberystwyth have been promoted to the League this season, which is great news!) There is a real positive vibe and buzz around women’s football at the moment, especially in Wales, with some new players coming up through the ranks, and some new initiatives starting up like Huddle. We are looking forward to seeing how this will be reflected in the league this season, and how we, as a team, can build on it even further and bring it to an even wider audience. There are definitely exciting times ahead!