The women's soccer economy is booming

As England and Spain prepare to square off in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final tomorrow, they’ll top off a tournament that has continued to break viewership and attendance records.

Driving the news: This week's semifinal between England and Australia broke broadcast and streaming records in Australia, with 11.15 million viewers tuning in. On the whole, the tournament is projected to reach two billion viewers, nearly double that of the 2019 edition.

  • The World Cup is also projected to bring in a record ~US$300 million in sponsorship revenue and sell over 1.5 million tickets, another new record. 

Why it matters: Female soccer players are fighting to close the sport’s gender pay gap, but critics have argued the difference simply represents the economic value created by men’s teams. This new growth shows that the women’s game is ripe for more investment that will help it catch up further.  

  • For example, by making up for decades of underinvestment, the women’s game in England could become a billion-pound industry over the next ten years.

Zoom out: Soccer isn’t the only women’s sport on the come-up.

  • With viewership of women’s tennis matches in some cases now surpassing those of men’s, the WTA made changes in June for equal pay at more of its top events.

  • Viewership for this year’s Women’s March Madness surged 42% from the year before, while its players generated more social media engagement than the men.

In Canada: The women’s pro sports market is valued at $150-200 million, but can’t reach its full potential due to chronic underinvestment, per a new Boston Consulting Group study. Maybe the embarrassing first-round exit at this year’s World Cup will change that.—QH, LA