Football bosses talk of aim to turn the WSL into a £1billion league in the next ten years

WOMEN’S football chiefs hope to turn WSL into the first £1billion domestic division in the women’s game within the next decade.

And the tender for a new TV deal will start by the end of the year with the WSL’s current £8m-a-year agreement with the BBC and Sky Sports expiring next summer. 

PAFA women’s football director Baroness Sue Campbell wants to see the WSL become a more “investable proposition”[/caption]

ReutersFootball bosses hope to help the league become a division that is worth £1billion in the future[/caption]

FA women’s football director Baroness Sue Campbell and WSL chair Dawn Airey were speaking ahead of the October 1 start of the new Women’s Super League term.

Their on the future of the division comes three months after a finance firm Deloitte revealed a 60 per cent rise in revenue for top tier teams in the 2021-22 season.

The combined revenue for WSL clubs had risen to £32m by the end of that season.

Airey said: “One of the stated goals we have is to make this league the first billion pound women’s league in the world, that is league revenue, and club revenue. 

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do it.

“Somebody quoted me an amazing statistic which is that the whole of women’s sport globally gets a billion dollars in revenues, from sponsorship and gate, a billion dollars in revenue globally. 

“Men’s sport gets half a trillion, half a trillion, that’s an enormous difference. 

“And it shows the enormous potential for women’s sport and women’s football in particular.”

This term will see the WSL enter the final season of its current domestic TV rights deal with the BBC and Sky Sports. 

Following the boost in viewing figures of televised WSL games, the FA are eager to seal a more lucrative agreement. 

This follows a summer that saw the Women’s World Cup final clash between England and Spain become the second-most watched event of the year in August.

Airey added: “This (current broadcast) rights deal finishes at the end of the season.

“We will be going to market (for a new deal) I would like to think before the end of the year.

“The Premier League will be going to go to market (for their new deal) in the middle of October

“It would be daft to put our rights into the market when they’re in because that’s going to get the primary attention.

“We will go in after (then). It’ll be the end of this year. 

“In terms of who’s interested – everybody is, as they should be.

“It’s just a question of assessing the tenders.”

From the start of the 2024-25 league season a company called NewCo will take over the running of the WSL and the Women’s Championship

Bridging the gap and making competition fairer between WSL’s top sides, richest clubs and those lower down the league and in the second tier will be among the priorities for the firm. 

And Baroness Campbell believes cost controls could be the answer. 

She said: “There certainly needs to be a fair play approach to it, no question.

“But what we’ve been talking to this group of (WSL and championship) CEOs about is how do you make this game a more investable proposition? 

“So when you look down that league, and you talk to the chief executives at some of the WSL clubs to lower down, they’re nervous about investing any more, because they can’t see when it stops. So, cost control becomes really important.”

With online abuse of female athletes becoming more prevalent NewCo will be working with players to help tackle trolling of WSL aces.  

A BBC Sport study found that 30 per cent of sportswomen across 39 different sports including football had been trolled online. 

The sports chiefs says the new company set to run the WSL will establish a players’ forum to feed policies on issues affecting women footballers.

ReutersBaroness Campbell says cost control may be needed to help keep competition fairer between rich and top sides and those lower down the WSL and in the Championship[/caption]

This includes measures for tackling social media abuse of WSL aces.

Baroness Campbell added: “You’ve got to keep listening to the players.

“One of the things NewCo will do is set up a player group that will feed into policy and help keep us on our toes in terms of those issues that are worrying and troubling them.”