The recently rebranded Red Lioness was opened on 7 November by Arsenal striker Danielle Carter, Reading midfielder Fara Williams and BT Sport’s women’s football experts Clare Balding, Rachel Brown-Finnis, Claire Rafferty and Reshmin Chowdhury.
Aiming to inspire pubs, bars, clubs and hotels nationwide to show more women’s football and generate support for the game, the site’s opening came two days before England’s 2-1 defeat to two-time world champions Germany in front of a record-breaking Wembley crowd.
The pub will host a range of events as part of a week-long build up to the FA’s Women’s Football Weekend (16 and 17 November), including a screening of Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal Women - the first Women's Super League (WSL) match to be played at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
What’s more, visitors will have the chance to watch the Lioness’ European qualifier against the Czech Republic on 12 November.
“I love the new branding of the Red Lion as the Red Lioness as it amplifies the support for the Lionesses as they expand their fan base,” Balding said of the site’s opening.
“The sold-out game at Wembley is just the start of a major wave of support for the women’s game in this country. Pubs have always been a place where people congregate to watch football and I hope many more will join the Red Lioness Pledge.”
Bruce Cuthbert, director, commercial customers BT Sport, added: “Women’s football is growing in popularity and is a great opportunity for pubs and clubs to make sure they are appealing to as wide an audience as possible.”
Clear appetite and interest
Operator of the Red Lion pub Greene King has become the first major managed pub group to sign up to the broadcaster’s Red Lioness Pledge.
It means that 750 of the group's estate of more than 3,000 sites will screen all women’s football matches live - from the FA WSL to internationals featuring England’s Lionesses - as well as creating welcoming environments for women’s football fans.
BT Sport will provide guidance and point of sale materials for BT Sport commercial venues signing up to the pledge.
“We are incredibly proud to be working with BT Sport and to be the first major managed pub company to sign up to the Red Lioness pledge,” said Phil Thomas, chief commercial officer at Greene King.
“We saw first-hand the impact the Women’s World Cup had on the nation this summer, and it was clear the appetite and interest was there from our guests to watch England’s women’s success.
“Our pubs have an unrivalled atmosphere on match days, and through this pledge we commit to not only broadcast the matches in our pubs, but to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all fans as the women’s game continues to grow.”
Pubs can join the Red Lioness Pledge by visiting btsportprint.co.uk/redlioness