The W-League contributes a tiny fraction of FFA's overall revenue. But if the game can't improve without professional players, how can it secure professional wages?
The total revenue generated by Football Federation Australia (FFA) in 2018 was $132.5M. Of this gate receipts comprised of $7.6M. Of the $7.6M in gate receipts, $6.9M or 91% came from the A-League, FFA Cup or Socceroos.
Only $600,000 or 7% came from the Matilda’s with the W-League understandably contributing only a tiny fraction.
This is the main reason why W-League players don’t get anywhere near their male counterparts when it comes to remuneration and financial support.
However, the times, they are a-changin'.
The opportunity exists now more than ever for female football fans to help bridge the pay gap between males and females by generating their own revenue.
Many A-League clubs now have W-League only memberships, for those only interested in the W-League. W-League tickets and memberships are significantly cheaper than their A-League equivalents.
The Western Sydney Wanderers have recently released a W-League package for as low as $70 for adults. The likes of Melbourne City, Brisbane Roar, Perth Glory, Newcastle Jets and of course Canberra also have W-League only memberships.
Another major boost for the W-League is that A-League memberships themselves have always allowed free entry to W-League games.
Even though free entry in itself won’t generate revenue, the more A-League memberships sold the more revenue generated for clubs to invest in their W League teams. The reality is clubs can’t sustain W League teams purely from revenue generated by the W league. Also the bigger the W League crowds, the more justification females can have for getting a bigger slice of membership revenue.
In a nutshell, there are plenty of chances now for the W League to get bigger crowds. No excuses!
Former Matilda and current Melbourne Victory W-League star, Ella Mastrantonio, was excited that clubs are now selling W League specific memberships.
Mastrantonio, who has also played for Perth Glory, understands the importance of distinguishing the fact the W League stands in its own right.
“I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction in order to generate interest in it and for the fan experience,” she said.
“It gives greater access to games and shows the W-League is a competition on its own.”
W-League games are often played at more football friendly intimate venues. They are usually at a decent time as well. It is often a fun night out with plenty of entertainment apart from the game itself. The players are also fantastic in making the time to interact with fans post-game.
The W-League average crowd figure was 1,528 in the 2018/19 season, in 2017/18 it was 2,122. With the increased exposure it will get due to W-League memberships and additional TV coverage, organisers are hoping it will recover and head towards the 3,000 mark.
Earlier this month it was announced that all W-League games will be shown live on Fox Sports, with one game a week also beamed live on free to air via the ABC. This is a major revenue boost for the women’s game.