The Dutch women’s team will play its first match at the European Football Championship in England on Saturday, but there is no question of an Orange fever in shops and supermarkets. There is little enthusiasm among entrepreneurs and consumers to go all out.
More than five million Dutch people saw in 2017 how the Dutch football women were honored after conquering the European title in their own country. Two years later, Sarina Wiegman’s team reached the World Cup final, losing to the United States. The match was watched by almost 5.5 million Dutch people.
“Women’s football remains less popular than men’s football for the time being and there is also competition from other major sporting events, such as Formula 1 and the Tour de France. It now comes at an unfortunate time,” says brand expert Paul Moers.
Supermarkets usually go big with all kinds of promotions and gadgets when there is a European Championship or World Cup. In this way, large grocers try to attract extra customers to their stores and gain or retain market share.
According to Moers, the enthusiasm around the European Championship women’s football is a lot less. “There are therefore very few campaigns. There are also all kinds of other problems at the moment, such as high inflation, supply problems, blockades by farmers and corona. Consumers also have less to spend.”
ING economist Marten van Garderen says that the lack of interest is mainly due to the popularity of women’s football. “If we had a men’s tournament, everything and everyone was orange. There is also no economic component, at most after the decimal point. If people have less to spend, they might buy cheaper nuts and cheaper beer, or hang up old flags. “
According to co-owner Sander Mallie of sports marketing agency SportsGen, women’s football has gone through a huge change. “But it’s not yet at the level of the men when it comes to attention, airtime and marketing. The same men have done that for decades as well.”
Little attention for the Orange women
A tour of various supermarkets shows that there is little attention for the Orange Women. Supermarket chain Jumbo mainly focuses on other sports. “We support Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen and we are the main sponsor of the skaters and cyclists of Team Jumbo-Visma.”
Albert Heijn announces that the KNVB Campus will be transformed into a ‘Camping van Oranje’ especially for customers during the European Championship. “Fans could register to spend the night with their family in the garden of the Orange Women. The program includes watching matches, a barbecue and many other activities.”
Discounter Lidl has a number of products on offer, such as croquettes, pizzas, nuts, beer, wine and ice cream for a ‘nice’ evening watching football. Beer brewer Heineken has no gadgets this year, but whoever buys a crate or six-pack of Heineken, Heineken Silver or Heineken 0.0 at Albert Heijn has a chance to win two tickets for the final.
Mallie indicates that companies and brands can play an important role in promoting women’s football. “And the other way around, you also see that when there is little or no attention for it. In addition, there are many more stars in men’s football who are followed all year round by their fans. That is not the case in women’s football. That is why the World Cup in Qatar is much more attractive.”