WSL Finances | Are United trying to buy the League?

jojojo

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The Swiss Ramble has done a breakdown of the available numbers. A lot of ifs and buts in the analysis but a few interesting figures. Broadly speaking, the big three (Chelsea, Arsenal, City) have wagebills at least twice as high as anyone else, including us. Chelsea are probably the best funded and have the highest wagebill - maybe three times ours.

 

Harry190

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785k pounds in wages. That's...miserly. I'm sure United can do much better.
 

cj_sparky

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785k pounds in wages. That's...miserly. I'm sure United can do much better.
There is a certain % cap for salaries that is linked to the turnover of a club.

Although Chelsea's Sam Kerr is supposedly on around £400k a year.
 

Harry190

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There is a certain % cap for salaries that is linked to the turnover of a club.

Although Chelsea's Sam Kerr is supposedly on around £400k a year.

While I can understand the financial implications, it's still hard for me to reconcile the fact that these women are professional athletes on an average annual salary of 37k.

The opportunity cost is tremendously skewed.
 

Maestro14

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No worries
While I can understand the financial implications, it's still hard for me to reconcile the fact that these women are professional athletes on an average annual salary of 37k.

The opportunity cost is tremendously skewed.
I think that's quite high actually for a women's team in England. It just shows how little money there is in women's football at the moment, especially compared to the men's.

I'm surprised that we apparently made a profit in our first year, although according to this we earned £306k through "other operating income". Is that basically funds from the men's team?
 

El Zoido

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Does women’s football even turn a profit? Feels more like a social justice PR exercise in some ways. The media is trying really hard to make people care in the name of equality. I just get the feeling most people don’t. You can’t just fake it. I’ve got nothing against any of this, for the record. But it’s interesting. I’m curious to see how the women’s game sits in a decade or so .
 

jojojo

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There is a certain % cap for salaries that is linked to the turnover of a club.

Although Chelsea's Sam Kerr is supposedly on around £400k a year.
They describe it as a "soft cap" - basically because it doesn't define what turnover means. A club that decides to identify 5m as the women's team's slice of the club's commercial income (sponsorship/shop sales etc) can do, or it can identify 500k if it prefers. It's more of an attempt to get clubs to identify/guarantee funding in advance - to make sure all teams complete the season - than a real cap.

On the sponsorship/commercial income thing generally, only a couple of clubs actually attempt to sell the women's team separately at the moment when it comes to sponsors - Barcelona is probably the most famous, they have Stanley (as in "Stanley Knife") sponsoring their women. That's partly down to habit/pre-existing contracts and partly due to a worry that it might devalue the branding, if there was a cheap way to link a company name to the club.
 

nokillingmoths

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While I can understand the financial implications, it's still hard for me to reconcile the fact that these women are professional athletes on an average annual salary of 37k.

The opportunity cost is tremendously skewed.
Its not dissimilar to tier 4 mens football in the UK and that gets similar crowds.
 

jojojo

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While I can understand the financial implications, it's still hard for me to reconcile the fact that these women are professional athletes on an average annual salary of 37k.

The opportunity cost is tremendously skewed.
A lot of the women playing in WSL1 will be paid national minimum wage and only get paid for the FA-prescribed minimum hours - certainly under £20k/year.

The crucial thing for the development of the game is that there is now enough money at the top clubs for it to be a fulltime job, albeit the women are definitely in the shared house and car pool to the training ground category. But, they are professionals now and that was unheard of in England 5 years ago. The effect of it is that standards are rising, both technically (as more players come out of youth training programs with qualified coaches) and in fitness terms. It's that rise in standards that is key to developing the game both as an ambition for young girls and as a spectator sport.

So United are ok, but only ok - we're not investing heavily but we are learning. The main worry at the moment for the League is that some clubs may actually reduce their support next year, and with sponsors in short supply (most businesses will be hesitant to spend) it won't be possible to make up the gap. Of course the fact the big three are spending starts to build in an imbalance again as some clubs like Chelsea are recruiting globally, with an intention to take on Lyon in the CL as well as to win in England - whereas most clubs are much closer to putting in just enough to operate.
 

welshwingwizard

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Does women’s football even turn a profit? Feels more like a social justice PR exercise in some ways. The media is trying really hard to make people care in the name of equality. I just get the feeling most people don’t. You can’t just fake it. I’ve got nothing against any of this, for the record. But it’s interesting. I’m curious to see how the women’s game sits in a decade or so .
That's a wierd way of looking at it. Why is it a social justice PR exercise as opposed to women wanting to play a sport they enjoy and compete at the highest level open to them for famous clubs. Presumably there are people interested in it but I'm not sure that matters. In the same way that curling, handball and many Olympic sports don't have much support (or I doubt enough to be run as a business that turns a profit), this doesn't have to either. The importance is people pushing themselves to be the best and competing for honours.
 

The Original

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That's a wierd way of looking at it. Why is it a social justice PR exercise as opposed to women wanting to play a sport they enjoy and compete at the highest level open to them for famous clubs. Presumably there are people interested in it but I'm not sure that matters. In the same way that curling, handball and many Olympic sports don't have much support (or I doubt enough to be run as a business that turns a profit), this doesn't have to either. The importance is people pushing themselves to be the best and competing for honours.
At whose expense?
 

jojojo

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At whose expense?
Mine amongst others :D and that's fine by me.

I'm a season ticket holder to the men's team, and to the women's team, and I'm also a Sky/BT subscriber, so I'm pleased to back a club that is acting as a good corporate citizen by supporting women's and girls' football - it is important to its links to the broader community and to Manchester. I also agree with FIFA and the PL - football's already extracting just about as much money as it can from men and from sponsors targeting men, however they aren't getting nearly so much revenue from women. Clubs like United can afford to bet a part of their income on what might be a key market in 5/10 years time, and if that fails to materialise than it will still have been worthwhile as they'll be doing a social good.
 

The Original

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Sorry I don't follow?
If a certain sport is played solely for the purpose of allowing individuals to push themselves, and there is no financial benefit to a club, why would any club be expected to invest in it? Given that professional sports teams do not exist for the purpose of giving individuals a chance to be the best or compete for honours. Professional sports clubs are primarily there to provide entertainment and get paid for that.
 

The Original

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Mine amongst others :D and that's fine by me.

I'm a season ticket holder to the men's team, and to the women's team, and I'm also a Sky/BT subscriber, so I'm pleased to back a club that is acting as a good corporate citizen by supporting women's and girls' football - it is important to its links to the broader community and to Manchester. I also agree with FIFA and the PL - football's already extracting just about as much money as it can from men and from sponsors targeting men, however they aren't getting nearly so much revenue from women. Clubs like United can afford to bet a part of their income on what might be a key market in 5/10 years time, and if that fails to materialise than it will still have been worthwhile as they'll be doing a social good.
Sure that's fine...I just wanted to point out to welshwingwizard that when an elite club fields a women's team it is mostly done out of a sense of social obligation.
 

jojojo

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A little clip from a Liverpool player, that as well as telling a Covid story, is a reminder that up until two years ago, most WSL players were part-timers and that some of them still have another job.

The pro game is still very young, and it's still a semipro game for a good proportion of the players.