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Soccer-WSL revenue grew 60% in 2020-21 season on broadcast, commercial deals -study

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(Reuters) – Women’s Super League (WSL) clubs recorded revenue growth of 60% for the 2020-21 season, driven by a rise in commercial agreements and a new broadcast deal, according to analysis from Deloitte published on Monday.

The 12 clubs in the English top flight generated 32 million pounds ($40 million) in aggregate revenue, up from 20 million pounds in the previous season.

Arsenal generated the most revenue (6.9 million pounds), and along with champions Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City accounted for 70% of the league’s total revenue.

The WSL’s broadcast deal with the BBC and Sky Sports, which began at the start of the 2021-22 season, is reported to be worth around 8 million pounds a year and was the first time rights to broadcast the league were sold separately from the men’s game.

It boosted each club’s share of the revenue, with WSL sides getting 75% of the broadcast distribution and the remaining money going to teams in the second-tier Women’s Championship.

Barclays’ current title sponsorship agreement includes a 30 million-pound investment into the English women’s game from 2022-2025, and Deloitte said the increase in commercial revenue is expected to continue in future seasons.

Ten out of 12 WSL clubs shared the same front of shirt sponsor as their men’s team, allowing them to tap into wider sponsorship agreements including some of the highest revenue-generating commercial deals in European football.

Clubs spent 92% of their income on player salaries in the 2020-21 season but the rise in revenue meant the wages to revenue ratio fell to 72% despite combined wages across the clubs increasing by 37%.

Matchday revenue accounted for 10% of total revenue but Deloitte said it was expected to rise significantly in the next financial year after England’s triumphant Women’s Euros campaign led to a nearly 200% increase in attendance in 2022-23.

($1 = 0.7956 pounds)

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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