European wonmen's football

The unstoppable growth of women's football in Europe

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In recent years, women's football has experienced a remarkable rise. In Europe, the number of professional female players exceeds 3,500, and major events such as the World Cup generate revenues of more than USD 500 million.

Women's football.

The growth in popularity of women's football is unstoppable. The World Cup in Australia and New Zealand has served as a testament to the fact that more and more people are following women's football and it is a growing industry. The World Cup saw an average stadium attendance of 30,904, which is a significant improvement on the previous World Cup in France in 2019, with figures of around 21,700 people per match. The average attendance at the men's World Cup matches in Qatar was 53,191 spectators. 

According to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, the last FIFA Women's World Cup has managed to balance its costs by generating revenues in excess of $570 million (around €520 million). He stressed that there were no financial losses and that the second highest revenues were generated compared to any other sport worldwide. The main source of revenue came from audiovisual rights, which brought in $300 million (around €270 million).

Of this revenue, approximately a quarter, or $152 million, is for prizes and bonuses for the participating federations. While these overall prizes represent a significant increase compared to the previous women's tournament and are ten times higher than previous tournaments, they are still considerably below the $440 million that the federations received at the men's World Cup in Qatar. The figures for the men's tournament are almost triple those of the women's tournament.

Despite these financial disparities, the audience for women's football matches has shown remarkable growth. For example, in Australia, 11.5 million people, almost half of the population, tuned in to watch the semi-final between Australia and England, making it the most watched television programme in Australia since 2001. In England, 7.3 million people followed the same match on the BBC.

In Spain, despite it being August and midday, an average of 5.6 million viewers followed Spain's victory over England, with a screen share of 65.7%. This was the most watched women's football match in the history of Spanish television in terms of viewers and screen share. 

Women's football figures in Europe

Attendance figures in Europe continue to accumulate records. The records recorded in recent seasons are well known, both in Champions League qualifiers, with over 90,000 people, and in all the major European leagues, including a full house for the FA Cup final at Wembley.

However, it should be noted that the audience for women's football is relatively new, with 57% of women's football fans having been following the sport for five years or less, according to UEFA's The Business Case for Women's Football report. This highlights the potential of the sport, but also underlines the importance of retaining spectators who, unlike in men's football, do not attend matches for reasons rooted in tradition as well as the challenge of attracting new types of fans. 

The number of professional players is also on the rise, 77% of European leagues have seen an increase in the number of professional players to over 3,500 and 40% of these competitions now have a main sponsor (although this percentage rises to 70% if the overall figure is taken into account). 

In both Spain and Brazil, we are proud sponsors of the national women's senior national football team. In Spain, we are also sponsors of all youth categories, the senior national indoor and beach football team, the Copa de la Reina (Queen’s Cup) and the Iberdrola Super Cup, among others.

In Brazil, we also give our name to the women's football league, which is called Brasileirão Feminino Neoenergia. Thanks to this sponsorship agreement with the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), Neoenergia also becomes the first company to exclusively support the Brazilian women's national football team.

In Scotland, our subsidiary Scottishpower is the main sponsor of Scottish Women's Football (SWF) and the Scottish league. Thus, we became a sponsor of the Scottish Youth Challenge Cups in all three age groups, in addition to the Scottish Women's Highlands and Islands League. 

According to UEFA's projections, women's football clubs and leagues are expected to experience continued growth, reaching a commercial value of €686 million by 2033 - a six-fold increase compared to the current situation. While these predictions may seem optimistic, the Women's Champions League has shown a substantial increase in revenue in a single year, rising from 1.4 million to 15.2 million in the 2021-2022 season. This remarkable increase is mainly attributed to the new format of the competition, which now jointly markets TV rights and sponsorship deals. These numbers continue to trend upwards, reaching 17.2 million in the 2022-2023 season and are expected to reach 17.8 million in 2023-2024.

All in all, women's football in Europe has experienced significant growth in terms of popularity, participation and structural development. The development of the national leagues as well as the increasing professionalisation also helps, not only in terms of sporting success, but also in terms of increased investment and sponsorship. And all with great public support.