May 2019, the Last time our team was at Wembley Stadium for a women’s football match. This time a Lionesses return to Wembley Stadium for the first time in 5 years marks the occasion as they faced Germany in a 2-1 loss. This match also acted as a preview of how will the UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 Final might feel like.
Here are 5 things we’ve learned from the Lionesses at Wembley Stadium:
- Fan Journey- Wembley stadium provides a unique route from transport to seat. The majority of fans arrive at Wembley Park station and upon exit, Wembley Stadium reveals itself with the next step being a walk-up Olympic Way. Depending on the event, Olympic Way either feels special or neutral. This time, the whole way showcased banners of the Lionesses alongside signage picture opportunities which certainly amped up excitement among arriving fans. Branding such a space is obviously costly and cannot be done for every event. The fanzone at Boxpark Wembley was also a success.
- Sponsorship activation- Many times, it feels that during many events sponsors miss out on the opportunity to activate. While not at Wembley, BT, Lead Partner of England’s football teams rebranded a pub in the city in order to promote women’s football. In the zones outside the stadium near our entrance, we spotted two activations: Deliveroo handed out Lionesses team photos and a foam finger alongside a promotion of £5 off the next two orders. Continental had a football skills activation with the opportunity to win a signed England shirt. Lastly, EE, sponsor of Wembley Stadium, set up a virtual selfie station in a specific concourse.
- Online content- Ever since the announcement of the match taking place at Wembley, and no matter on which platforms one follows the Lionesses, it felt that a very well planned content campaign was executed by The FA. Content involving fans, players, and notable figures who impacted the women’s game were utilised to promote this match. The result can be measured in the sell-out and an attendance of 77, 768. See below links to the official Lionesses Instagram and Twitter accounts.
- Atmosphere- If you attend Barclays FA WSL matches you’re aware of the challenge of creating an atmosphere. Some matches in the FIFA Women’s World Cup were relatively quiet. At Wembley, the atmosphere was good. And especially for a friendly. Flags handed out, the sound system felt improved. Our personal view is that it takes one drum in the stands to get a crowd going. The one drum at Wembley certainly set the tone. A general sense of excitement every time England got on the ball was felt too.
- Continuance – This match was played a week before the Women’s Football Weekend. A weekend which will see 4 FA WSL matches hosted at men’s grounds. Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal at the new spurs stadium and a Merseyside derby at Anfield. Brighton will host Birmingham City at the Amex Stadium and Reading will host Bristol City at the Madjeski. This weekend was promoted on the LED boards throughout the match together with ticket sales for the Women’s’ FA Cup Final in May.
Ignoring the result and how England played the whole event was thought and produced very well by The FA. A statement was also made towards UEFA that Euros 2021 will be taken care of properly. Wembley Stadium is a fantastic venue and no wonder that it is the host of the final for that tournament too. The real challenge would be to translate and grow this level of interest to the FA WSL and other host cities of the Euros.
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