Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Arsenal up the ante on funding for the women’s team as AWFC accounts released

Since 2022, Arsenal have committed to publishing separate accounts for the women’s team and, for the first time, we have comparative data on their accounts. On Tuesday, the accounts for 2021-22 were released which show big rises in commercial income, a big rise in the salary bill and a significant boost in funding from the parent company, Arsenal Football Club plc.

Arsenal Women’s £4.3m wage bill was spread across 44 playing and non-playing staff, up from £2.6m across 35 staff the year before. Arsenal added a full-time team psychologist and appointed Gary Lewin to be their first ever Head of Sports Science and Medicine during this period.

On top of that, there were new contracts for Leah Williamson, Vivianne Miedema, Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Jen Beattie and Noelle Maritz. The accounts also show a 62% increase in turnover to £6.9m in the year to 31 May 2022, boosted by the £8m-a-year broadcasting deal agreed between the WSL, the BBC and Sky in 2021.

Matchday revenue also increased to £532,000, with four games held at the Emirates Stadium. This figure will swell significantly in the 2022-23 accounts with more games being held at the Emirates and three games that attracted in excess of 40,000 attendees. Arsenal also signed a women’s team specific commercial deal with beauty brand Il Makiage in November.

The accounts also show a £5.1m “support fee” from the parent company, Arsenal Football Club plc. In the prior year this parent company support was £3.8m. Every WSL club currently has a similar arrangement, where the club effectively invests a fee to the women’s team operations every year. Of the parent company funding, only £1.7m is shown as a ‘loan” ie money to be repaid to the parent.

£5m from the parent company is largely in line with what Chelsea usually provide for their women’s team, though their accounts for 2021-22 are as yet undeclared. Arsenal also made a(n ultimately unsuccessful) world record bid for Manchester United striker Alessia Russo on January transfer deadline day.

However, the women’s side is still heavily reliant on being subsidised by the parent company, the salary bill would represent 242% of the club’s revenue without it as elite level women’s football still works towards self-sustainabilty.

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Kat

Good breakdown. Very interesting to see how this evolves through the next commercial year with all the influx women’s football has seen since the summer. It seems to me that Arsenal are working hard to position themselves as the “sweetheart” club team in England helped by Leah and Beth stardust. Never mind actually needing a striker, had they added Russo to that mix it would have been commercial dynamite. To build on their legacy and fully maximise on headwinds this team needs to win something – now! Feels like men’s 07/08 season which I have down as a sliding doors… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

I think we football fans should make the effort to watch women’s football and buy tickets and kits. At the same time, there are slightly more women than men on the planet. Investment should be made to get them watch the game and pay for it.

Henry

Most women who watch football here in Vietnam like to watch men games. Of course it’s partly because of the low accessible rate of the women games.

Fun Gunner

I think broadcasters, the FA and the clubs should target women because it’s the obvious growth area. Many men already go to football and pay for TV subscriptions etc. They will need to factor in women’s behaviour and priorities, though. Sensible kickoff times, safe stadia etc probably matter more to women and girls.

Zoe Waterfield

I already do and have been for some years 😊

Fun Gunner

It’s a very good idea to publish separate accounts. The revenue figures, especially matchday income, and the independent sponsorship partnerships take us a big step closer to self-sufficiency. This season’s results should be even better.

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