After Angel City FC became the NWSL's newest expansion team, the franchise now has its first major sponsor. However, the brand won't just don apparel and logos around the team. Gatorade will form a unique partnership with the club and its founders.
Initiated by former national team star Abby Wambach, the partnership aims to promote women in sports. After all, the club's formation came at the leadership of a majority female ownership group.
According to Jeff Kearney, Gatorade's global head of sports marketing, the two parties want to change the sports industry and the community.
"We’re looking forward to fueling Angel City on and off the pitch and working with the club to drive meaningful change in sport. We’re not only partnering with what is sure to be a world-class soccer club, but one that will be part of its community, serving area youth and ushering in a new era of women’s sports in Los Angeles. The model, built by their founding members, including some of our longstanding athlete partners and other leaders, could pave the way for how professional teams are built in the future."Jeff Kearney
Wambach and Gatorade have had a long-lasting partnership in their history. Since her days with the national team, she's been one of the brand's main faces. After retiring, she joined the company's women's advisory board.
Gatorade is known for its influence on the sports marketing world. The company's reach extends throughout the world as a premier sports drink brand. Most of its deals also serve as lucrative opportunities for athletes and teams.
Angel City's deal with the company is much different.
According to Wambach, the club's partnership is "the first of its kind" in the sports world. Reportedly, 10 percent of Gatorade's earnings from the sponsorship won't go to the company. Instead, a small sum will go to different community projects in the Los Angeles area.
A proposed training program is also in the works. Both the club and Gatorade look to start a female-led program in Southern California. The program aims to encourage a rise in female soccer coaches.
While the sponsorship is a great start for the new club, Wambach hopes that this is just the tip of the iceberg. She envisions a global reach for the club.
"We don’t want to just be a soccer team. We want to be a global brand and have a global presence. My hope is that we’re seeing sold-out crowds in 10 years, that we’re seeing players from around the world leaving the teams that they’ve been playing for to come to play in the best league in the world. We are seeing huge TV rights deals, players that are receiving contracts that are not only sustainable but capable of these women not having to work other jobs."Abby Wambach