Clubs in English soccer’s top-tier Women’s Super League (WSL) enjoyed a 50% increase in combined revenue for the 2022-23 season compared to the prior year, according to a new report.

Analysis by Deloitte, the global professional services firm, revealed that WSL clubs generated a record £48 million ($61 million) in aggregate revenue during the season that came after the England women’s team won the 2022 UEFA European Championship. 

The figure was up from £32 million in the 2021-22 season, and more than double that of the 2020-21 campaign (£20 million).

The top four revenue-generating clubs were Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United, who accounted for 66% of the revenue for the 12-team league.

Commercial revenue for 2022-23 was £17 million for WSL clubs, with £13.5 million coming from four sides – Manchester United (£5.2 million), Manchester City (£3.6 million), Liverpool (£3 million), and Tottenham (£1.7 million).

Deloitte projects revenue for the 2023-24 season (which finished in May) will reach £52 million, and then rise further to £68 million in 2024-25, the first season in which the WSL will be run by NewCo, the independent club-led body, instead of the English Football Association.

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It was reported by the Guardian earlier this week that NewCo (a working title at this stage) is set to hire Chelsea Women’s Zarah Al-Kudcy as its inaugural chief revenue officer.

Despite generating record revenue, the pre-tax losses of WSL clubs went up to £21 million in 2022-23, from £14 million the season before.

The average attendance in the WSL, meanwhile, climbed from 1,923 to 5,616 in 2022-23 and cumulative matchday revenues grew to £7 million with clubs increasing use of their main stadiums.

Attendance figures grew further after England reached the final of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, losing to Spain. Cumulative attendance across the WSL and Women's Championship in 2023-24 surpassed one million for the first time, meanwhile.

Tim Bridge, lead partner in the Deloitte Sports Business Group, has said: “Many women’s clubs continue to rely on financial contributions from their wider group structure. However, this is not a new revelation in football where many owners prop up the shortfalls of loss-making clubs.

“It's important the industry does not hold women's clubs to a profitability metric that the wider game has yet to consistently achieve. We're seeing significant growth across the women's game and continued investment is key.”

Jenny Haskel, the knowledge and insight lead in Deloitte’s sports business group, added: “Driving a loyal fanbase, habitual viewing and distinct commercial partnerships was a clear priority for WSL clubs in the 2022-23 season and the soaring revenue growth achieved demonstrates the strides that have been made.

“However, we’re still in the foothills of growth in the women’s game. As NewCo concentrates on growing the popularity, standards, and visibility of the women’s game in England, collaboration with clubs and other stakeholders will be an important element.”

In a report issued last November, Deloitte predicts that global revenue coming from women’s sport will surpass £1 billion for the first time in 2024, with soccer bringing in the biggest contribution of any one sport – £439 million – followed by basketball (£280 million).

The equivalent Deloitte prediction for women’s sport in 2023 was £771.8 million, while for 2022 it only came to £554.4 million.