AFL women’s competition half-launch

17 June 2016 #Thoughts

Earlier this week the AFL’s “history making announcement” of the inaugural women’s competition let us all know the eight teams that will compete in 2017.

What we still don’t know? A name for the competition, a major sponsor or even a logo. What is this competition and now that the media cycle has kicked off — what do we call it?

The AFL website’s own new story calls it the “national women’s league” without proper nouns. But other teams started saying National Women’s League as a proper name. St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis even tweeted the NWL as if it were an official acronym.

…and if it is the NWL, someone’s about to get rich.

However, AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick labelled it the AFL’s National Women’s Competition in his speech. So is it the NWC? Or the AFLNWC?

Look out, National Warranty Company.

WAFL is taken, obviously.

The bad joke going around the internet was Australian Women’s Football League (you work it out) though that naming convention is already in place with Victoria’s VWFL.

The website has a designated area for all related news in this space, simply titled “Women’s Football“. Points awarded here for not just making everything pink.

Given the AFL’s mastery of controlling a message and good optics; failing to attach an official brand to this new competition is either a masterstroke or a gross oversight. A masterstroke because of all the free media coverage without actually having a fully formed idea. Or a gross oversight because it makes this whole competition look really low priority for the AFL.

Perhaps the worst oversight in this bungled launch is the official Twitter account for the NWL/NWC/Whatever is the incredibly sterile username @AFLFemale, which I don’t think would be a stretch to suppose was registered by a man.

During the official team launch the account had no unique posts of its own, only retweets of the @AFL account. This competition is obviously going to be lower in priority than the main product, but it wouldn’t have hurt to give them an exclusive and be retweeted by the official account instead.

And without a unique logo or even a name at launch all the recent announcements don’t amount for much brand awareness or recognition. But a solid amount of brand apathy and confusion.

More announcements are likely to come, but if the goal here is to establish a reputable, serious and respectable competition, the AFL aren’t acting like it at the moment.

If the competition logo is just the AFL logo in pink we’ll know just how big of a priority it is for them.

Update 20/06/2016: Because the competition doesn’t yet have a name, someone has hijacked the brand with an unofficial Twitter account and website. What a mess.