Sports Direct is launching its ‘Equal View’ campaign, which seeks to improve the representation of football fans and grassroots football following this summer’s international tournament.
The retailer has worked with Getty Images to create a free, diverse bank of 75 images of fans, coaches and grassroots players from across the globe, captured throughout the competition in a bid to show an accurate depiction of football in 2023.
The images capture the true diversity of the football ecosystem, from celebrating fans cheering on their team in Australia to shining a spotlight on grassroots coaches in America. To ensure everyone has an equal view of football in 2023, Sports Direct is encouraging media, brands and rights holders to use the imagery as much as possible to address bias in the SEO algorithms.
In recent years the support for women’s football has skyrocketed but the stereotype that football is still ‘a man’s game’ still stands in many ways. An online search of ‘football fans’ produces images of crowds of men and when you search ‘women’s football’, the results are almost exclusively of the Lionesses when the reality of the modern game is much more diverse, from grassroots levels to professional.
Furthermore, the campaign seeks to solve the issue that pictures of women at the grassroots level aren’t readily available. Working with Getty Images, areas of under-representation were identified and included within the brief for the ‘Equal View’ content bank. Equal View sits alongside Sports Direct’s Equal Play initiative, which seeks to close the gender gap in sports, by providing free equipment to grassroots clubs across the country.
The current visual representation does not provide an accurate reflection of what the game really looks like which has been the catalyst for the Equal View campaign, with Sports Direct taking action to equalise the disparity. Sports Direct is committed to tackling these issues by collaborating with Getty Images to create a bank of free-to-use assets that show an equal view of the beautiful game across the world, inspired by the recent tournament in Australia.
Sports Direct brand ambassador Fara Williams commented: “The issue of representation in the women’s game is a longstanding one that is still prevalent today despite the surge in popularity of the sport over recent years. There’s been so much positive change since I’ve been playing and it’s great to see it continuing to trend in the right direction but it’s no secret that there’s still work to do to bridge the gap. It’s great that Sports Direct is working to improve the visual portrayal of women’s football by capturing images that reflect the diversity of the game this summer, which is so important to give kids the opportunity to dream big and follow in their idols’ footsteps. I can’t wait to see the images being used to show the modern game.”
Beckie Stanion, Chief Marketing Officer at Sports Direct, said: “The increase in popularity of the women’s game is undeniable, and we are seeing more and more women and girls come into stores to buy football products. Yet it’s so disheartening to see certain stereotypes continue to plague the game. An online search for football fans still brings up a disproportionate number of men or a very tokenistic view of women in football. We want to change that. You can’t be what you can’t see, and so Equal View aims to play a part in shaping a more inclusive, aspirational future for our customers. It’s an approach that isn’t exclusive to the World Cup either. Our long-standing Equal Play initiative has also sought to level the playing field between men’s and women’s football, plus our sponsorship of women’s teams such as Forest Green Rovers and Hibernian FC, are symptomatic of our desire to shine a light on the women’s game.”
Jacqueline Bourke, Director Creative Insights EMEA, Getty Images, commented: “We are seeing a huge increase in the visibility of Women’s sport, yet there is still a long way to go in getting the representation to a truly inclusive and equitable level. Our VisualGPS research continually highlights the consumer appetite for authentic representation of female sports, and this custom work with Sports Direct is an important step in widening that representation beyond the action on the field or pitch.”
The bank of images is available now for editorial use on GettyImages.com for all account holders. The imagery was captured by Getty Images’ global photographer network in Australia, New Zealand, North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Visit this link to view the imagery that Sports Direct has captured in partnership with Getty Images, to improve the visual representation of football fans.