The English Women’s Super League aims to become the first billion-pound women’s soccer league in the world within 10 years, the chair of the league’s board Dawn Airey said ahead of the new season.
Airey, speaking to reporters before the 2023-24 edition kicks off on October 1, said the WSL and the second-tier Championship can become the most lucrative league in the world.
The WSL is among the most popular women’s soccer leagues in the world, alongside the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States, Liga F in Spain, Frauen-Bundesliga in Germany, A-League in Australia and others.
Currently, the WSL and Championship are run by England’s soccer governing body Football Association but the running of those leagues will be slowly shifted under a new company called “NewCo”.
NewCo will run the two leagues independently and there are plans the new company will take over by the end of the year.
“One of the stated goals that we have is to make this league the first billion-pound women’s league in the world, that is league revenue and club revenue and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do it,” Airey said on Monday, according to Reuters news agency.
“That’s our goal, at every level to get more finances in this business, as well as… developing a pathway and the investment that is required at every level.”
Airey said the one billion pound price tag was not “just plucked from the air”, but based on a “pretty decent and detailed business plan” for over the course of the next 10 years.
“We look at the growth of attendances, we look at the growth of engagement and broadcast, we look at the increased interest in sponsorship and marketing opportunities, and then we start being more imaginative about what attending a women’s game means,” Airey said, according to the Guardian newspaper. “Not just watching the game, but everything that goes on around it, is there potential for clubs to think differently about their revenues?”
Airey’s comments come nearly a month after England reached the final at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where they lost to Spain 1-0 in the title clash.
Women’s soccer in England has been on the rise since the national team won the European Championship last year on home soil in front of a record attendance in the final.
The new season of the WSL will see Chelsea defend their title after the London club lifted the trophy last season following a two-point lead over second-placed Manchester United.
In the first round of fixtures, United play away to Aston Villa, Chelsea begin their title defense at home to Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal host Liverpool. Manchester City play away to West Ham United, Everton host Brighton and Hove Albion, while Leicester City travel to Bristol City.