Angel City FC announces Jane Walker partnership
The newly formed Angel City Football Club announced today that Jane Walker, the female counterpart of whiskey brand Johnnie Walker, will support the team as its founding and exclusive spirits partner in a three-year deal.
Jane Walker will produce a content series that “showcases the incredible firsts the team has achieved to-date,” the brand says—despite not yet playing a single regulation game—and will spotlight the team’s future progress in both soccer and gender equality.
Jane Walker was introduced by Diageo in 2018 as a brand symbol of gender equality.
The first piece of branded content was released this morning, featuring team executives, high-profile investors and history-making women. Future pieces will show the female-owned and operated team’s milestones as it prepares and eventually commences its inaugural season, Jane Walker confirms.
Angel City FC is a Los Angeles-based expansion team of the National Women’s Soccer League announced last year with a string of high-profile backers including Natalie Portman, Mia Hamm and Serena Williams. Angel City is expected to take to the field in 2022 as one of two Californian additions joining the NWSL next year.
“The brand is trying to shine a light on badass females who have led the way in their industry and who have been and will continue to be an inspiration for other women to do what they want to do,” says Sophie Kelly, senior VP of whiskies at Diageo North America.
“This is not just a campaign or a moment in time,” she adds, reaffirming the Johnnie Walker brand’s long-held commitment to social progress.
The partnership with ACFC is a continuation of Jane Walker’s “First Women” campaign that debuted in December in collaboration with the ERA Coalition to honor history-making women.
Launched as an open letter in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal as a celebration of trailblazing women, the campaign was conceived to honor 10 such role models from tennis great Billie Jean King to hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa and recognize recent women’s accomplishments, such as Kamala Harris becoming the first female Vice President in U.S. history.
“Angel City is passionate about breaking down barriers and elevating women, and we are thrilled to welcome Jane Walker in this pursuit we share,” says Julie Uhrman, the team’s founder and president.
In addition to the content that will run across social, digital, TV, radio and in-stadium activations, Jane Walker and ACFC are directing a portion of the sponsorship’s total value to grant funding aimed at creating more opportunities for female entrepreneurs and their businesses in L.A.
As part of the partnership, Jane Walker plans to bestow at least eight grants from over $100,000 in funding; that is on top of $300,000 in existing funding to be distributed in the form of 30 grants that are an ongoing part of the “First Women” campaign. Applications for the Jane Walker grants have been made available via the women-owned business crowdfunding site IFundWomen, with recipients being selected by the “First Women” campaign’s original 10 honorees to create what Kelly calls “a network of give-back.”
Jane Walker is also creating custom “Strong Knows Strong” game day cocktails that ACFC fans will be able to have at the stadium once the team takes to the pitch next spring. “When we go in and we activate, Jane will be front and center,” Kelly adds.
A female version of Johnnie Walker’s well-known “Striding Man” logo that it has used for over a century, Jane Walker was first designed by the brand’s creative agency Anomaly New York in 2018 for Women’s History Month. The character was then revived for the “First Women” campaign six months ago.