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Women’s football to profit from ‘unbundling’ opportunity – Deloitte

Sixty per cent of top-flight women’s football clubs have front-of-shirt sponsors that are different to the men’s equivalent, according to new research from the Deloitte Sports Business Group.

The findings from the professional services group, based on information from the 2018-19 season, highlight a growing revenue generation opportunity for the women’s game.

As clubs and potential sponsors recognise the financial benefits of unbundling women’s football deals, Deloitte expects the proportion of women’s teams with distinct main sponsors to rise to 100 per cent by the time of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Izzy Wray, a consultant at the Deloitte Sports Business Group, said: “Historically, rights to a women’s football club or competition have been bundled as part of a broader package with the men’s equivalent.

“Commercial partners and broadcasters have tended to primarily focus on, and value, men’s clubs or competitions, with the women’s game not valued on its standalone merits.

“However, stakeholders are now seeing the many advantages of investing in a rapidly growing area of the world’s favourite sport.”

Deloitte’s analysis found that only one club in the National Women’s Soccer League in the US – representing 13 per cent of the league – has the same front-of-shirt sponsor as the club’s men’s equivalent team.

This compares to 25 per cent in both France’s Division 1 Féminine and Germany’s Frauen-Bundesliga.

England’s FA Women’s Super League has the highest proportion, at 64 per cent, with only four clubs having a different main shirt sponsor for their women’s team.

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The report found that teams playing in England have the highest proportion of equivalent men’s team’s playing top-flight football: 73 per cent, compared to 58 per cent in France and Germany, and 50 per cent in the US.

Out of the 20 highest-revenue generating clubs in world football, 17 have a women’s team and of these, only nine (53 per cent) have a separate front-of-shirt women’s team sponsor.

The women’s football metrics are additional findings from Deloitte’s annual Football Money League report, published in January.