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Study: European women’s soccer to hit €686m in annual commercial returns by 2033

Sponsorship rated as fastest growing revenue stream over next decade in new Uefa report.

16 August 2022 Ed Dixon

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  • Club sponsorship value could reach €295m by 2033
  • Media rights has potential to grow sevenfold to €256m
  • Women’s soccer fanbase may double over next ten years to 328m

Women’s soccer in Europe could see a sixfold increase in commercial returns over the next decade, reaching €686 million (US$695 million) annually by 2033, according to a new study by Uefa.

The Business Case for Women’s Football’ report from European soccer’s governing body adds that club sponsorship is set to increase sixfold to €295 million (US$299 million) over the next ten years, signalling it out as the fastest growing revenue stream.

The annual value of media rights to women’s soccer could also grow sevenfold, reaching €256 million (US$259 million) by 2033. For this, Uefa states that opportunities are strongest in tier one and tier two countries. In the former, the value of media rights could increase sevenfold to almost €29 million (US$29.4 million). For the latter, spending could increase eightfold to €2.2 million (US$2.23 million).

The value generated by domestic clubs, domestic leagues and continental competitions will be integral to achieving all the substantial growth, the report continues.

Uefa also touched on women’s soccer being considered ‘inspirational, empowering and family-friendly’. The report credits those attributes for attracting a ‘diverse, progressive and young fanbase’ that is set to grow from 144 million to 328 million over the next ten years.

While the fanbase is rising, matchday revenue from domestic club games is currently inconsistent and relatively low. However, according to the study, there is major potential here and annual matchday revenue in Europe could increase twelvefold to €135 million (US$138 million) by 2033.

To convert increasing engagement into greater attendance and revenue, more awareness of women’s soccer matches, improved scheduling and matchday facilities, as well as remodelling ticket pricing were all deemed essential.

Given the growth trajectory predicted for women’s soccer in Europe and the impact that this will have on costs, the report adds that the sooner leagues and clubs increase their investment in women’s teams, the more cost-efficient and profitable development will be.

For context, the average annual setup for women’s teams founded after 2015 was €434,000 (US$440,000) for the first three years, compared to €198,000 (US$201,000) for teams established before 2010.

Broken down, the report’s recommendations for sustainable growth were grouped into five key themes: develop strategies and business plans, raise standards and professionalism on and off the pitch, build a sustainable ecosystem, increase visibility and strengthen audience engagement, and build on the unique strengths of the women’s game.

“Women’s football is on an incredibly exciting trajectory, with growth being seen across nearly every metric and across all of our stakeholders across Europe,” said Nadine Kessler, Uefa chief of women’s football.

“The potential of the women’s game is limitless and we believe we are on course to take women’s football to heights that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

“As this report shows, now is the time to capitalise on the momentum we have created together, now is the time to get involved, now is the time to invest.”

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