We all know that a successful national team in a summer sporting tournament can only be positive news for the UK pub trade. And this
summer hopes are pinned on the England Women's football team.

Over the last few years women's football has experienced growth like never before in this country.

The Women's Super League has entered a full-time professional era, backed with a new multimillion-pound sponsorship deal with Barclays, broadcasters are giving the game more coverage and players are becoming heroes to the next generation of footballers.

Much of the success stems from the last World Cup, in Canada in 2015, where the Lionesses exceeded expectations by finishing the tournament in third place.

With Phil Neville having led them to triumph in the She Believes Cup in March and third place in the FIFA world rankings there are high hopes that they could go one or even two steps further in France.

What's more, England kick off the campaign against Scotland on Sunday in a game where rivalry and passion will be running high.

Michelle Payne, licensee at freehouse the Ingate Inn in Beccles, Suffolk, is looking forward to the tournament.

 

 

She says: "We sponsor Beccles Town Ladies FC and we expect they will come in to watch the tournament. But it isn't about women watching women's football, it is about everyone enjoying great sport.

"The World Cup last summer was crazy and you don't often see that. The women's game has been growing but it still has a long way to go. We will be showing it and pushing it hard through our social media channels to let people know that it's going on."

Just like in the men's game, success for England could give the business a big boost.

"We need England to be successful. If they can go a little bit further than the men that would be fantastic," adds Michelle.

The trade has been throwing its support behind the sport too. Sports pub finder app MatchPint recently organised a briefing with Budweiser to help pubs make the most of the competition.

On International Women's Day this year the beer giant announced it was entering into a partnership to become an official partner of the England Women's football team.

 

More than a game

Paula Lindenberg, president for AB InBev UK & Ireland, said: "We believe that football is more than just a game – it's a huge part of our culture, and one of the best ways to bring people together, which is why Budweiser and football share a natural affinity. We couldn't be more excited to take this bond to the next level, by supporting the incredibly skilful Lionesses at this point in their journey.

"We believe that our values match the Lionesses' perfectly. We champion passion and ambition – qualities that the England Women's team display every time they step on the pitch."

Meanwhile BT Sport this year added a women's tournament to its annual grassroots football tournament, The Pub Cup. England's most capped player Fara Williams and former Lionesses keeper Rachel Brown-Finnis managed teams in the tournament.

 

 

Speaking at a Pub Cup launch event Fara Williams said: "We are one of the fastest-growing sports and women's football is on the up. When the World Cup and European Championship comes along, the games are televised and we get more interest.

"It's about sustaining that after the tournament and maintaining that interest."

Rachel Brown-Finnis added: "The success of the England's women's team has been a catalyst to the growth of the game and that has been well followed by broadcasters and now we go into the summer as one of the favourites. Success always brings interest. It has been on an upward journey so far but the next thing is winning something."

Dare to dream...

 

 

FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP, FRANCE 2019: KEY DATES

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 - OPENING DAY

France v Korea,
8pm

Sunday, June 9
England v Scotland
5pm

Friday, June 14
Japan v Scotland
2pm

England v Argentina
8pm

Wednesday June 19
Japan v England
8pm

Scotland v Argentina
8pm

Saturday June 22 – Tuesday, June 25
Round of 16

Thursday June 27 – sunday, June 29
Quarter-finals

Tuesday, July 2
Semi-final 1
8pm

Wednesday, July 3
Semi-final 2
8pm

Saturday, July 6
Third place playoff
4pm

Sunday, July 7
WORLD CUP FINAL
4pm

All games live on BBC