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Women’s football: Unbundling commercial deals poised to catalyse further growth

Women's football: Unbundling commercial deals poised to catalyse further growth

The 2022 Women’s World Cup marked a significant milestone in the growth of women’s football, with record-breaking attendance and viewership (via Sportico).

The showpiece event in Australia and New Zealand attracted 12 million viewers on BBC One in the United Kingdom, establishing it as the most-watched women’s football match in the nation’s history. 

Nearly two million fans attended matches during the tournament, breaking previous attendance records and showcasing the global appeal of women’s football.

The surge in popularity has been accompanied by increased investment in women’s football, leading to improved performance and substantial commercial growth. 

Women’s Super League (WSL) clubs generated an impressive £32m in revenue during the 2021/22 campaign, marking a substantial increase from the £20m produced in the previous financial year. 

As the women’s game continues to flourish, new partnerships, sponsorships and private investments are expected to further propel its global expansion. 

The Football Association (FA) have already proposed a £15m loan to facilitate the establishment of a new holding company responsible for managing the commercial activities of the women’s football game.

Unbundling commercial deals is a topic that has reared its head as it offers women’s teams more autonomy and potential for value attribution. 

Commercial deals have historically been bundled between women’s teams and their respective men’s sides, but there are growing opportunities for those deals to be broken down into separate elements as the women’s game carves its own path.

The approach is still in its early stages, but it remains to be seen if those deals will attribute the appropriate value to women’s teams and continue on an upward trend as the game grows.

Europe is emerging as an increasingly attractive destination for women’s football stars, offering strong competition and commercial opportunities. 

The allure of European competitions and elite club tournaments is becoming more pronounced, making it a viable alternative to the United States as a destination for women’s football.

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