Above: Southampton unveil their kit with new sponsors Starling Bank on the front – left to right: Lucia Kendall, Lexi Lloyd-Smith, Ashleigh Ward, Paige Peake, and Rosie Parnell. Photo supplied by: Southampton FC Women.
Barclays Championship side Southampton have announced that Starling Bank will be the club’s official principle partner for this season. From this Sunday’s game against Sunderland, Starling’s logo will feature on the front of players’ shirts.
This sponsorship is a continuation of Starling’s celebration of women’s football, following the bank’s national sponsorship of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, which saw it launch the first fantasy football game for women’s football in the UK and award £23,000 in grants to women’s grassroots teams.
The bank has strong links with Southampton, employing 400 people in the city and the partnership comes at an exciting time for the club, now playing in the FA Women’s Championship following back-to-back promotions.
Southampton FC as a whole club is on a mission to encourage more fans to support the women’s game and has seen a 120% increase in season ticket sales compared to last season. As part of this drive to grow the women’s game, all Southampton games will be played at the men’s Premier League home, St Mary’s Stadium with a capacity of 32,689. The team also trains at Staplewood Campus, the same facilities as the men’s side, and are now full-time professionals.
Southampton are managed by Marieanne Spacey-Cale MBE, a legendary former Lioness with 91 caps. Speaking about the sponsorship, Spacey-Cale said: “We’re all delighted to welcome Starling onboard as our Official Principal Partner. This is an exciting time for the team as our first season in the championship. To have the backing and support of Starling, an organisation that’s fully committed to growing the women’s game, is really motivating.”
As part of the partnership, together Starling and Southampton will also launch an initiative to develop grassroots coaches at local clubs throughout Hampshire to grow the pipeline of female footballing talent.
Sarah Batters, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Southampton FC emphasised the importance of the relationship with Starling Bank going further than just shirt sponsorship: “It was important for us to find a partner that was prepared to invest in the women’s game – going further than just putting a logo on a shirt.
“From the moment we started conversations with Starling Bank, their commitment to making an impact to the success of the women’s game with their sponsorship was clear – and we can’t wait to get started. We hope to see a record attendance for this Sunday’s big game against Sunderland where we will showcase Starling Bank on the front of our women’s shirt for the very first time.”
Southampton play Sunderland at St. Mary’s Stadium in the Barclays Championship at midday on Sunday 30th October.