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Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance: Women’s Super League clubs report a 50% rise in revenue in the 2022/23 season

  • Women’s Super League (WSL) clubs generated £48m in aggregate revenue in thei 2022/23 season, the first season following the Lionesses’ EURO 2022 triumph, a rise of 50% on the prior season (£32m);
  • WSL club aggregate revenue has more than doubled since the 2020/21 season (£20m), and is forecast to reach £52m in the 2023/24 season and to soar to £68m in 2024/25;
  • Cumulative attendance surpassed one million for the first time across the WSL and Women’s Championship in the 2023/24 season.

Uplifts in commercial and matchday revenue, alongside increased distributions for English clubs playing in UEFA competitions, contributed to a 50% growth in WSL revenue in the 2022/23 season, according to new analysis from the Deloitte Sports Business Group.*

In the first season following the Lionesses’ EURO 2022 triumph, cumulative matchday revenues among WSL clubs grew to £7m as clubs across the league looked to increase the use of their main stadia and enhance their matchday offerings. Average attendance across the league during the season hit 5,616, up nearly 200% on the previous season’s average of 1,923.
With the Lionesses’ success at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup drawing further attention to the domestic women’s game, cumulative attendance surpassed one million for the first time across the WSL and Women’s Championship in the most recent 2023/24 season.

Commercial revenue remained a driver of growth, representing 35% of total revenue (£17m) for WSL clubs, with Manchester United (£5.2m), Manchester City (£3.6m), Liverpool (£3m) and Tottenham Hotspur (£1.7m) all reporting commercial revenues over £1m.
While growth in broadcast revenue was limited, due to the 2022/23 season taking place in the middle of the broadcast rights cycle for both domestic WSL and UEFA Women’s Champions League rights, broadcast revenues of £7.2m represented 15% of the total revenue for WSL clubs.

Deloitte forecasts WSL clubs’ revenue to reach £52m in the 2023/24 season and to grow further to £68m in the 2024/25 season.

Jenny Haskel, knowledge and insight lead in the Deloitte Sports Business Group, said: “WSL clubs are home to world-class players whose success on the international stage has drawn new fans to the domestic game. Driving a loyal fanbase, habitual viewing and distinct commercial partnerships was a clear priority for WSL clubs in the 2022/23 season and the soaring revenue growth achieved demonstrates the strides that have been made. However, we’re still in the foothills of growth in the women’s game. With NewCo set to step into the governance role in place of the FA this year, WSL clubs will be both participants in the competition and shareholders off the pitch. As NewCo concentrates on growing the popularity, standards, and visibility of the women’s game in England, collaboration with clubs and other stakeholders will be an important element to continuing the efforts to attract the attention of commercial partners, investors, and crucially, fans.”

The average revenue for WSL clubs was £4m in the 2022/23 season, up from £2.7m the prior year. However there remained significant disparity across the WSL, as the top four revenue-generating clubs composed 66% of the total revenue for the league.

Aggregate wage costs totalled £36m (avg. £3m), up 45% on the previous season (£25m), with the wages to revenue ratio remaining relatively stable at 75% (2021/22: 78%). However, the range in wage costs across the league continued to widen, up 47% from £3.6m in 2021/22 to £5.2m in 2022/23. Wage bills from the top four revenue generating clubs in the league (Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United) accounted for over half (57%) of the league’s total wage costs.

The revenue of seven of the 12 WSL clubs included group income as a mechanism by which women’s football activities receives significant investment from the wider organisation. In aggregate, group income accounted for 36% of revenue across all WSL clubs, and more than 50% of total revenue for four WSL clubs (Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal).

WSL clubs pre-tax losses rose to £21m in the 2022/23 season (2021/22: £14m), despite being mitigated by the inclusion of £17.4m of group income for certain clubs. WSL clubs had relatively small values for player trading and finance costs, so there was little difference between aggregate operating losses of £20m and pre-tax losses of £21m in 2022/23.

Tim Bridge, lead partner in the Deloitte Sports Business Group, concludes: “Many women’s clubs continue to rely on financial contributions from their wider group structure, however this is not a new revelation in football where many owners prop up the shortfalls of loss-making clubs. It’s important the industry does not hold women’s clubs to a profitability metric that the wider game has yet to consistently achieve. We’re seeing significant growth across the women’s game and continued investment is key. Further growth will be driven by the alignment of leaders across the game behind a bold strategy and belief in the longevity of success in women’s football.”


Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance 2024, reporting on the business and finances of European professional football, including the WSL, will publish next week. 

Notes to editors

*Although we are pleased to add additional metrics for WSL clubs in this year’s report, there remain certain limitations to the availability and comparability of WSL clubs’ financial information and different accounting treatments. As clubs begin to delineate financial information for their women’s football activities, we hope to continue the journey towards a more comprehensive analysis in future editions.

About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte

Over the last 30 years Deloitte has developed a unique focus on the business of sport. Our specialist Sports Business Group offers a multi-disciplined expert service with dedicated people and skills capable of adding significant value to the business of sport. Whether it is transactions advice, benchmarking or strategic business reviews, operational turnarounds, revenue enhancement strategies or stadium/venue development plans, business planning, market and demand analysis, acquisitions, due diligence, expert witness, audits, or tax planning; we have worked with more clubs, leagues, governing bodies, stadia developers, event organisers, commercial partners, financiers, and investors than any other adviser.

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