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Women’s Super League Clubs

In the 2021/22 season WSL clubs generated £32m in aggregate revenue, up 60% relative to the prior season.

 

Women's Super League club revenues

 
A rise in broadcast and commercial revenues drive growth in WSL aggregate club revenues.

 

In a record-breaking year for women’s football, aggregate revenue for the 12 WSL clubs increased by 60%, from £20m to £32m in 2021/22.

Broadcast revenues increased as The Football Association’s deal with Sky Sports and the BBC commenced in the 2021/22 season representing a reported £8m per year. Recognised as the largest broadcast deal of any professional women’s football league, this is the first time that broadcast rights to the WSL have been auctioned separately from the men’s game.

Commercial revenue was a major revenue driver for both the league and WSL clubs, a key theme of the women’s game that we expect will continue in future seasons.

At the club level, commercial revenue can be captured separately from the men’s team, or as part of a bundled deal across all of a club’s teams. For example, 10 out of 12 WSL clubs had the same front of shirt sponsor as their men’s team in the 2021/22 season, allowing clubs to tap into wider sponsorship agreements (which include some of the highest revenue-generating deals in European football).

Matchday revenues throughout the league accounted for less than 10% of WSL clubs’ revenues in 2021/22, with average league attendance of 1,923. However, the success of the Lionesses in the UEFA Women’s Euros has prompted a significant uplift in attendances, nearly a 200% increase to an average of 5,616 in 2022/23, which will likely provide a boost to matchday revenue for future seasons.

 

Future outlook

 
We are reaching the point where clubs can maximise the value associated with the women’s game and its unique fanbase.

 

Women’s teams are agreeing to new and distinguished partnership deals that reach their core audience.

These commercial deals enable clubs to create unbundled revenue streams that are solely attributable to the women’s side and also provide a diversified offering to potential commercial partners, who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise seek to associate with professional football.

It is our view that not being shy about the commercial opportunity within the women’s game is now critical – affiliation for commercial partners gives access to a potentially different audience to the men’s game, allowing them to achieve a whole different set of objectives. Whilst the bundling of rights to date may have been a tactic to ensure that affiliation with a club’s brand is protected, we are fast reaching the point where clubs can seek to maximise the value associated with the women’s game.

Whilst WSL clubs’ revenues from each of matchday, broadcast and commercial revenue streams are growing, there is also significant investment from the wider organisation as group income accounts for around 40% of revenue across all WSL clubs.

In 2021/22, the WSL clubs’ aggregate pre-tax losses of £14m will be supported by the group income. Whilst these losses can be expected during this nascent phase of growth, we hope that the reliance on group income will begin to wane over the coming seasons.

Future outlook: Three topics shaping the future of football

 

Regulators, investors and commercial partners are increasingly shaping the decisions of clubs and league. Read more in the links below.

 

Deloitte's Sports Business Group

 

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Deloitte's Annual Review of Football Finance has been a chronicle for the business and finances of European football for over thirty years. Download previous editions via the links below.

 

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