The National Women’s Soccer League announced today that it would be partnering up with UKG, a HR and workforce management solutions company, for a multi-year sponsorship deal for the NWSL Challenge Cup. UKG is now the first-ever tile sponsor for the Challenge Cup and this deal will see the bonus pool increase tenfold this year, and the total pool will be more than double again in 2023.
This deal also makes the next Challenge Cup, to be named the 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup, the first-ever women’s professional football tournament to achieve pay equity with its US counterparts in the men’s game.
The deal was brokered by Elevate Sports Ventures and they will be assisting in the management strategy and activation for this cause-driven brand and league partnership
Speaking on the league’s official release, Brian K. Reaves, the chief belonging, diversity, and equity officer at UKG, stated that as an organisation, they refused to accept that one organisation could not make a difference in the fight for pay equity, and they wanted to showcase this partnership as one of many moves UKG is making to raise awareness and encourage more action on pay equity.
The multi-million dollar sponsorship from UKG is aiming to close the wage pay gap as the prize money will directly benefit the players on the winning team, the runner-up team and the teams that reached the semi-finals. This, along with the recently ratified CBA, is proposing to enhance the environment and standards for players in the NWSL as a whole.
NWSL Commissoner Jessica Berman also released a statement on the league’s official release, stating her satisfaction of partnering with a company like UKG, due to what she believes as their shared values.
This sponsorship also has an additional layer, partnering up with individual NWSL players Christen Press and Sydney Leroux. Press and Leroux will be looking to further advocate for closing the pay gap in every industry, not just in the NWSL.
Both players were happy to partner with UKG in their efforts to close the pay equity gap. Press noted that as a collective, they had “fought long and hard for pay equal to that of our male counterparts”, and that they needed more people to take a stand with them for everyone, regardless of gender, race, background or profession, Leroux also added her own thoughts, stating that every player in the NWSL worked their entire lives to play professional soccer and that pay equity isn’t just about closing the gap, it’s also about “people wanting to live the same quality of life, have the same opportunities, and live the same dreams as others doing the same work.”
There’s a lot to like about this deal but considering all that we saw with this year’s Challenge Cup, there still remains issues that the NWSL have to address in order for this tournament to truly be a premier event for players and fans alike.
Let us know what you think of this sponsorship below.