UEFA, European football’s governing body, has extended its partnership with the Leaders XX Series: a year-long forum to help key industry leaders grow women’s sport through innovation.

UEFA have enjoyed a transformational year for their promotion of women’s football: a global cumulative audience of 259m watched the UEFA Women’s Euro Finals in Netherlands, providing a catalyst for their strategy to make women’s football the No.1 sport in each of its 55 member associations by 2020.

The launch of the marketing campaign Together #WePlayStrong has driven millions of girls to engage with football. It has also produced a pioneering reality TV-style vlog, Press Play, which chronicles the daily lives of four top professional players across Europe and has already amassed more than 2.5m views on YouTube.

Beyond the campaign itself, UEFA has invested heavily in resources, creating a dedicated team that is providing support to its national associations.

UEFA’s ambition for women’s football focuses on four key aspects that are essential if the game is to grow and become commercially sustainable; addressing the profile and image of the game; increasing visibility and engagement; driving participation at grassroots level; and increasing investment in the game.

“In its inaugural year, the Leaders XX Series brought together over 40 brands and 40 clubs, leagues and federations from 25 countries including Facebook, Nissan, Manchester City, the Rugby Football Union, and YouTube. The success of the partnership with Leaders has enabled UEFA to reinforce its commitment to growing the women’s game to a wide variety of industry leaders. Its decision to unbundle sponsorship rights from the men’s game is regarded as a pivotal moment that will unlock new markets and commercial opportunities for the women’s game.

To that end, this year’s partnership with Leaders XX Series will provide UEFA with a platform to outline their strategic vision to increase participation and grow fandom within the women’s game.

It also enables European football’s governing body to showcase their progress so far in the Together #WePlayStrong campaign, whilst hearing from a range of success stories across sport and business.

These will take the form of three Think Tanks, each designed to focus on specific challenges and opportunities in the promotion, marketing and commercial sponsorship of the women’s game. It will also culminate in UEFA’s title sponsorship of the Leaders XX Red Carpet event taking place during Leaders Week in October.

Guy-Laurent Epstein, Director of Marketing at UEFA: “We are pleased to continue our partnership with Leaders in Sport’s XX Series. The past year has been an exciting one for us as we launched our Together #WePlayStrong campaign and enjoyed the most successful UEFA Women’s Euros to date.

“We are now committed to continuing that growth at a strategic level, by increasing participation and increasing fandom in women’s football, but also to recognise the commercial sponsorship opportunities that exist in women’s football, which growing at a rapid rate.

“This partnership allows UEFA to share its journey with an audience aligned behind our own objectives and potential partners who want to share that journey with us, or help expand our knowledge with their own experiences.

“I’m sure 2018 will be an even more prosperous year for our campaign and we look forward to working with those which to help us.”

James Worrall, CEO & Founder of Leaders: “At Leaders it’s our ambition to bring together, regularly, the key influencers that can catalyse growth in women’s sport. The XX Series gives a platform with reach across the entire global sports industry by way of online content and a series of events throughout 2018.

We’re delighted to be partnering once again with UEFA for the series. Given the genuine ambition to transform women’s football across Europe over the coming years, UEFA is the perfect partner to bring this series to life. Together, I’m confident we’ll be able to make great strides in developing women’s sport.”