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Friday July 19, 2024

England’s Women’s Super League kicks off with £1bn ambition

By AFP
October 01, 2023

MANCHESTER: The Women´s Super League (WSL) kick offs in front of huge crowds in England this weekend, with organisers bidding to exploit an explosion of interest as they target £1 billion in revenue.

The Lionesses´ run to the World Cup final in August has further fuelled demand for the women´s game, with TV companies and sponsors scrambling to have a slice of the action.

Teams in the WSL are now regularly drawing crowds capable of filling stadiums traditionally reserved for the men.

Arsenal´s clash with Liverpool on Sunday has sold more than 50,000 tickets, while defending champions Chelsea open the defence of their title against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

Baby gear brand Joie became the first title sponsor of a WSL stadium earlier this month in a deal to rename the 7,000-capacity arena that hosts Manchester City´s women´s team.

From next season, the top two divisions in the women´s game in England will follow the Premier League´s example in breaking clear of the Football Association to be run by the clubs -- with commercial growth in mind.

"One of the stated goals that we have is to make this league the first billion-pound ($1.2-billion) women´s league in the world," said WSL chair Dawn Airey, referring to plans over the next decade. "That is league revenue and club revenue and there´s no reason why we shouldn´t do it."