FIFA has reported a significant boost in women’s football investment interest after a number of leagues with a title sponsor has grown over the past year.

In publishing its second edition of Setting the Pace – its benchmarking report that provides insights into the factors that drive success in women’s football clubs and leagues – FIFA revealed that 77% of leagues now have a title sponsor, which is up 11% from 2021.  

The comprehensive analysis is based on data related to sporting, governance, financial, player, and fan engagement topics, and features women’s football clubs and leagues from all six FIFA Confederations.

Gianni Infantino, FIFA President, said: “Clubs are the foundation of our game, and by creating specific tools that paint an accurate picture of the women’s club landscape, we aim to increase the data available on women’s football and support decision-making processes.

“With this in mind, we are proud to publish the second edition of Setting the Pace – a document that assesses the reality of the game across key areas, presents emerging challenges and opportunities, and demonstrates our clear commitment to accelerating the growth of women’s football.”

Furthermore, the report revealed that 10 women’s leagues indicated that they secured broadcast revenue in 2021, compared to nine in 2020. Of the leagues that receive broadcast revenue, 90% have a club licensing system. 

Clubs with written women’s football strategies tend to perform better both on and off the pitch. 78% of clubs that won their league in the past three seasons had a written strategy, compared to 65% for those that didn’t. 

Sarai Bareman, FIFA’s Chief Women’s Football Officer, added: “The data in this year’s report underscores that organisations that are prepared to invest in women’s football are receiving a return, and we expect this will only increase as more clubs and leagues, as well as broadcasters and partners, truly recognise the unique growth opportunity that exists in women’s football.”

”Since the launch of FIFA Women’s Football Strategy in 2018, and in the period since the publication of the first edition of Setting the Pace, we’ve witnessed some significant developments and milestones in women’s football. 

“But there’s so much left to be achieved, and this will occur as we continue to share expertise and best practice, and remain open to regularly and transparently analysing the women’s football landscape.

“FIFA continues to take proactive steps to accelerate the growth and development of women’s football globally, and it is our commitment to continue producing this report as we strive to assist clubs and leagues in their mission to professionalise their operations.”

Additionally, in 2022 there has been ‘encouraging signs’ regarding revenue growth, as 7% of all clubs generated greater than USD 1million of revenue from matchday, broadcast, commercial, and prize money sources, while clubs recorded year-on-year commercial revenue growth of 33%. In turn, leagues have experienced year-on-year growth of 24% in commercial revenues. 

Clubs spending more than USD 100,000 on marketing and activation also have proven to generate on average much higher commercial revenues (USD 1,100,000) than those spending less than USD 100,000. 

Finally, international transfer fees in professional women’s football hit a new record of USD 2.1m in 2021 – an increase of 73% on 2020 – whilst FIFA also reported that clubs have witnessed strong growth in merchandising sales.

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