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Deloitte: women’s elite sports to become “billion dollar business” in 2024

The success of Lionesses – led by the likes of goalkeeper Mary Earps – has resulted in a dramatic increase in girls’ participation in football (Image: The FA)

Deloitte predicts that women’s elite sports will generate global revenues of US$1.28 billion (£1.02 billion) in 2024.

If the prediction is accurate, it will be the first time that annual global revenues for women’s sport will have surpassed the billion dollar landmark – and would be 300% higher than Deloitte’s previous valuation three years ago.

Deloitte’s forecast is based on the three main categories of revenue for women’s sports; matchday, broadcast and commercial.

Commercial revenue, which includes club sponsorships, partnerships, and merchandising sales, currently represents the largest share of total revenue (£554 million, 55%). This is followed by broadcast (£271 million, 27%), and matchday (£191 million, 18%) revenues.

The most valuable women’s sport is projected to be football (£442 million, 43%).

Jennifer Haskel, insights lead for Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “Over the last few years we have seen exceptional growth in women’s sport across the globe, driving a significant uplift in its commercial value, which in turn has led to growing interest from investors.

“Crucially, women’s sport is increasingly being viewed as a unique product that is becoming ever more distinct from men’s elite sport.

“This surge in fan and investor engagement is leading to new and improved opportunities for clubs and leagues, including greater commercial partnerships, increased participation and bigger matchdays.

“In order to ensure this growth remains consistent and sustainable, sports organisations must ensure that investment is directed to the right places such as encouraging fan loyalty, player welfare and maintaining competition across leagues.”

The increased visibility of women’s sport in the UK – in combination with the success of women’s elite teams – has resulted in an increase in the number of girls taking part in sport.

The clearest example of this is the way the success of the Lionesses – the England women’s national football team – has led to a dramatic increase in girls’ participation in football, with 100,000 more girls playing football than there were five years ago.

Paul Lee, global head of technology, media and telecoms research at Deloitte, added: “Women’s sport is on an impressive growth trajectory. However, broadcasters, streamers and social media platforms will have an important role to play in showcasing major events that capture the interest of new and existing fans, while creating an experience that is memorable and impactful.

“The next step will be maintaining habitual viewers who loyally tune in to watch their favourite players, teams and competitions across the season.

“To do this, sports organisations and media businesses will need to continue to elevate the profile of women’s sport with prime-time broadcasts, as well as investing in digital platforms that make games accessible to all those who want to watch.”

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