Committed, detail-caring and versatile. She is Begoña Villarrubia, a journalist that, from the very beginning, has left a mark in different media channels as TV, radio and press. After 20 years at Mundo Deportivo, Begoña leads the Women’s Football section besides collaborating with other media outlets as Barça TV, Futfem.cat, TV3 or RAC1. Her solid multisport and journalist background backs Begoña as one of the top references in women’s football information. You can follow her on @bvillarrubia.
After many years in women’s football journalism, what do you think about the contribution from media to Spanish women’s football growth?
Women’s football has grown a lot but still at a slow pace. Implication from media isn’t enough, this is why we need more participation platforms like TV or radio. It’s true that, over time, there are more league or champions league content on a regular basis. For the first time in its history, Mundo Deportivo dedicated a front page to women’s football when FC Barcelona won the Queen’s Cup. Strong steps are being made but, in my opinion, there should be more contribution from all of us. For example, active sponsorship search to cover clubs’ expenses and fixed visibility quotas in media for women’s football. Achieving more equal conditions is also a responsibility from media.
“More sponsors and visibility quotas are key to keep growing.”
Despite having a stronger media impact, what can clubs do to increase their awareness?
Clubs have a determinant role in women’s football development. Its growth should be based on higher budgets to their women’s teams to build more competitive squads that would ultimately lead to more titles. Besides, designing more promotional actions as pre-season tours, clinics, visits to hospitals or ticket contests is also on their hands. If we involve more areas, the more interest will be generated among fans who will attend to games easier. Getting top managerial statements and men’s players to participate is also a pending subject. While top executives at FC Barcelona have been absent during FCB Femení signings, the president of UD Levante have been present in all of them.
Following your experience, to what extent do clubs care about proactively reaching media to enhance their impact?
It’s difficult to assess it from a general perspective, each club behaves differently. Clubs as Betis, Madrid, Valencia or Santa Teresa have an active attitude when providing information. With other clubs, we have to be constantly after them to get information about training or news. From my experience, it’s common to see humble clubs care about having more visibility, while big ones think it’s going to happen anyway because of their performance on the pitch. For the good of all of them, we need more active press departments to take care and nurture media with content.
“Achieving more equal conditions is also a responsibility from media.”
One of the keys to consolidate women’s football is knowing fans tirelessly. How would you describe women’s football reader?
Women’s football readers are very similar to men’s football, they club fans. Rather than being women’s football specialists, they like to follow their club day to day regardless of their gender. If they follow men’s starts of Atlético de Madrid, Barça or Espanyol, they will do the same with the top players from the women’s team. They will probably feel attracted by the same promotional actions. Thus, promoting clubs’ community and association can be a very powerful strategy.
“In general, readers are more club fans rather than women’s football fans.”
The significant growth in the last years reveals a promising future. What do you think women’s football needs to keep improving?
The implication from all stakeholders is vital to keep growing. Media providing more visibility, clubs with more resources, sponsors investing in a constant-evolving product, fans attending to games and leagues and national associations looking for resources to make the competition sustainable. That is, actions as football pools or signing main sponsors as Iberdrola. On their side, players and managers competing on the field with titles is also necessary to walk all together towards the same and furthest direction.
Photo credit: Begoña Villarrubia