On March 12th, 2023, World Football Summit partners with Real Valladolid Simancas to promote their Women’s Football team and support them as they take a step to play a match, for the first time in 40 years, in Real Valladolid’s stadium, the legendary José Zorrilla where even the likes of Carlos Valderrama displayed their talent and skills.
In order to celebrate their first time on that field, Real Valladolid plans to make this event a real party by giving everyone free access to the stadium (attendees will have to download a free ticket through their website).
We interviewed Maria Victoria Papathanasiadis, Head of Brand at Real Valladolid, to understand:
– The origins behind the idea of celebrating the game at the José Zorrilla stadium.
– The initiatives they are carrying out to engage fans.
– The potential they see around women’s football.
– How players from the men’s team and their commercial partners are collaborating with the initiative.
What is the origin behind this idea of organizing a women’s football match at the José Zorrilla and most of all “why” is now the best time to do it?
For the first time in its more than 40 years of history, the José Zorrilla stadium will host a soccer match played by women and we want March 12, 2023, to be the first date set for the visibility of women’s soccer in Valladolid. After a few years without having a women’s team, this season Real Valladolid has the first women’s team but created three youth teams of girls in the juvenile and youth children’s categories. On the other hand, Real Valladolid wants this day to stand alone and for this reason, the agreement with the Cepaim Foundation has also been valued, with which they will work jointly from now on to promote equality in sport.
Can you describe some of the actions that will take place before and during the match?
Ticket promotion: Since last Wednesday, March 1st, we have released the tickets for the game, with which access will be free for fans and non-fans, and has a voluntary donation to the CEPAIM Foundation.
Sunday 5th: On Sunday the 5th, during the match of the men’s main team, in front of almost 20,000 spectators, was the women’s teams ceremony presentation, born between 2013 and 2008. For the first time in the history of the Pucela entity, we have a structure of female quarry teams.
Between 06-12th of March: During the next few days, we will have different activities on the digital channels with 4 stories from the players showing how difficult the path is and what they have had to overcome to reach a professional level, as well as other backstage and preparatory videos for the game.
March 8th: During the official International Women’s Day, at Simancas, the city of origin of the Real Valladolid female team, the City Council invited four schools to a contest inviting the four schools to participate to promote equality between boys and girls in the field of sports and promote its development.
March 12th: On the day of the match, we will have the Valladolid Conservatory of Music Band that will parade and perform a pasodoble. Paloma, a football freestyle pro, will show her skills to entertain the crowd along with support from sponsors such as Estrella Galicia and JD Sports.
We invite you all to attend this historic match with local schools, other sports federations, the Provincial Council, the City Council, Entrepreneurial Women associations of Castilla y León, and children from the CEPAIM Foundation.
How will you measure success? What are the main drivers that will lead to achieving your goal of breaking a record for most people attending a women’s football match in Valladolid?
Considering that this is one of our first initiatives, the idea is not to be guided by numbers. Obviously, the more people we can reach, the better, but our goal is for this to be our first touch point in a much larger journey that we want to create with women’s football, and then, our numbers will grow with each action until we achieve unthinkable results for our current scenario.
“Football, as a sport, will never be complete without women’s football having reached, at least, the same level as men’s football.”
What is the potential of women’s football? (Both at a global level and for Real Valladolid in particular)
We believe that some of the foundations of any sport are to be plural, inclusive, and egalitarian. Therefore, football, as a sport, will never be complete without women’s football having reached, at least, the same level as men’s football. To think about the potential of football without thinking about women’s football is to be limited and backward, basically closing the door to an entire universe of incredible possibilities, inspiring stories, and unique moments.
Is there any club or property that you are using as an example to develop your women’s football strategy?
No, but we believe that should be the normal and natural path from onwards to all clubs and property and this is what we are trying to achieve.
Can you tell us more about how the players from other teams of the club are reacting to this initiative?
We are receiving amazing levels of support from the entire organization. Players, executives, staff, etc., and this is especially relevant for the girls in the grassroots teams.
It is a great incentive to keep dreaming.
From a “brand” standpoint, is there anything that makes Real Valladolid (including Simancas) unique in the world of football or that you are proud to be known for?
The city of Valladolid is one of the Spanish references and has a great influence on culture, literature, architecture, and many other aspects. During the reformulation of our positioning last year, we tried to bring the essence, personality, and history of our city to the Real Valladolid brand.
That’s why now we want to build an audacious and innovative brand, always trying to push our limits, not only in football. For those who haven’t heard of us yet, get ready, because this is just the beginning of many more to come.
What is the role that your commercial partners play in this initiative? How are they involved?
Since the beginning, our sponsors and partners have supported our initiative to create a women’s team and a women’s academy with open arms. As a result, we have been able to extend all our partnership deals and the presence of these brands and companies to the women’s team.
Where can people find out more about the match? How can they contribute?
You can follow us on our social media accounts and our website
And, if you want to buy tickets to this unique match, you can do so here
This article features in the latest edition of WFS Digest, our insider’s guide to the latest and most relevant thoughts and practises from within the football industry. You can subscribe to WFS Digest HERE.