The pledge asks pubs and bars around the UK to screen all women’s football – from the Women’s Super League to internationals featuring England’s Lionesses – while creating inclusive environments for its fans.
Since kicking off in November 2019, when broadcaster BT Sport and Bury St Edmunds-based pub operator and brewer Greene King joined forces to revamp the Red Lion in the City of London in celebration of women’s football, more than 1,000 pubs across the country have committed to support the women’s game.
In addition to the 750 Greene King pubs that gave their backing in November, 150 pubs from Stonegate Pub Company have now given their support in addition to more than 100 other signatories.
“Women’s football is a great opportunity for pubs and clubs to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, and I’d urge all pubs to join the pledge,” BT Sport’s director of commercial customers, Bruce Cuthbert, commented.
Going the extra mile
“Sport is our true passion and we’re committed to providing the ultimate venues for fans to watch their favourite games,” Stonegate’s sports marketing manager Stephen Cooper explained.
“We’ve also pledged to drive our own support for women’s sport in pubs, by inviting our managers to commit to the Red Lioness pledge in partnership with BT.
“This means that each of our pubs will be going the extra mile to get behind the Women’s Super League and England Women’s Team – it’s fantastic to see so many partners join the cause. We can’t wait to get behind the Lionesses.”
Denise Coyne, of independent pub the Sibthorpe Arms, in North Mymms, Hertfordshire, added: “The Red Lioness is a really positive initiative.
“It shows that football is not just about the men and that women are doing great things too. We show the games and have developed a solid fan base for it.”
Women’s football underrepresented
The news of Stonegate’s support comes as research by Camden Town Brewery – official beer partner of Arsenal Football Club – found that 53% of visitors to the on-trade think women’s football is under-represented in Britain’s pubs.
What’s more, while little more than one in 10 pubgoers (14%) had watched a women’s football match at their local in the past year, the majority (52%) would like to see a greater presence for the women’s game across the on-trade.
In addition to its Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League rights, BT Sport will broadcast at least 30 live women’s football matches including the Lionesses, Barclays FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Continental League Cup and the Women’s FA Cup.