How much do the Arsenal Women footballers earn compared to the men

How much do women footballers get paid?

Now that really is a million-dollar question!

It would certainly appear that the quick, easy answer is – a lot less than their male counterparts…  But.  There are many reasons why that would appear obvious, so let´s take a look.

If we look at Arsenal Women´s Defender Leah Williamson who is one of the finest ball-playing defenders in world football.  Leah is a real success story from Arsenal´s Centre of Excellence.

Williamson captained England Lionesses´ to victory in the Euro 2022 Championship last Sunday and is reported to have earned £200,000 last season.

That may be nearly eight times as high as the average UK salary, but compared to the men’s England captain, Harry Kane, it is only a fraction.  Kane earns the same amount of money Williamson earns in a year in just one week.  And he isn´t the highest paid Premier League footballer, that´s reported to be Cristiano Ronaldo on around £400,000 a week.

According to BBC analysis, the average Women´s Super League player earns £47,000 a year, based on analysis of various published results for several teams in the women´s league. But following England’s historic win against Germany in the Euro 2022 Championship, which has shone a spotlight on women’s football, could that gap begin to close a little?  It is a sizeable gap to bridge.

Figures were compiled for Deloitte for the wage bills at three mid-table Premier League clubs. If you accept the Wolves figure for example, as an average of £4.7m, as a typical middle ground figure for all 20 Premier League clubs, it suggests men are earning 100 times what the women are.

There’s one consolation though – England players male or female are paid the same £2,000 match fee per game and have been since 2020!  Now that´s equality happening right there isn´t it?

But why is the gap so large?  Where does the money come from?  Football clubs generate funds in three different ways:

  1. Ticket sales
  2. Broadcast rights
  3. Commercial deals, such as sponsorship

According to statistics published by Deloitte, in the men’s game, ticket sales account for about 15% of income with the remaining 85% split between TV fees and sponsorship.

Average attendance for Premier League games – 39,000*

Average attendance for Women´s Super League games – 1,931*

* according to the Football Association.

Average top Premier League ticket – £65

Average WSL standing ticket – £9

Just looking at ticket income there’s a huge disparity.  Also, Premier League tickets are normally sold out weeks before the game whilst, even at that low price the WSL games seldom sell out.  Although maybe that is all about to change.  As we recently reported, the North London derby will be played at the Emirates Stadium on 24th September, and tickets sales had reached 25,000 with a number of weeks to go to the event.

Precise details of sponsorships are more difficult to come by, as clubs normally do bundled deals for both men’s and women’s team. But it’s a certainty that sponsors are mainly paying to be on the men’s shirts.

When it comes to TV, the Premier League attracts an estimated £10bn from a range of broadcasters, including substantial overseas earnings.

In comparison, the Women’s Super League is currently part way through a UK TV deal worth just £8m a year.

The figures are stark but partly based on the relative youth of the professional women’s game. England’s WSL was established in 2011 and only went fully professional in 2018.

The Lionesses’ success and popularity should mean the next TV and sponsorship deals are negotiated upwards.  Euro 2022 was the first time that sponsorship was offered just for the women’s tournament, rather than simply being bundled with the men’s tournament as has happened in the past.  Their success should make a huge difference and help wages to rise closer to those of some of their European counterparts, such as European giants Lyon or the US National Women’s Soccer League where top players are reported to earn more than £420,000 per season.

In the last decade £50m National Lottery money has been invested in women’s football and during the Euros a further £2m was allocated for a new grassroots girls’ programme this summer.

But there’s one clear fact from Euro 2022 triumph: the 87,192 crowd smashed the record for attendance at a Euro match, men’s or women’s!

That appears to tell its own story of how women’s football has captured the hearts of fans.

But it’s worth bearing in mind that tickets for the final started at just £15. Tickets for last years men’s Euro final started at £250 with the number of tickets sold limited to two-thirds of capacity by then Covid-rules.

So yes, the women´s game is still some way off bringing in the financial rewards that the men’s game attracts but it looks like that gap is set to reduce over the coming seasons.

Michelle Maxwell


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  1. I think it’s just six home WSL games that our team are going to be playing at the Emirates next season and although this is encouraging I see no reason why we can’t play all eleven. It’s bizarre that a team called Arsenal wearing Arsenal colours with Arsenal sponsors logos on them plays fifteen miles away from Highbury.
    There’s never going to parity of pay between men & women but playing in our own stadium must surely attract far larger crowds (generating more money) than at Borehamwood.
    I know the likes of Williamson, Mead, Miedema, Knobbs earn decent money from personal sponsorship deals but more gate income would surely boost their salaries.

    1. Where they play is mainly down to costs. Boreham Wood’s ground is far easier and cheaper to operate than the huge Emirates Stadium. Arsenal Women’s team gets far larger crowds than Boreham Wood get but playing in a larger stadium does not guarantee larger crowds. A smaller ground also generates a far better atmosphere and I would argue that as most Arsenal fans live in the suburbs and nowhere near The Emirates, the town of Borehamwood is far easier to travel to. I would rather stand in a packed North Bank at The Wood than sit in an empty North Bank at The Arsenal and regularly do.

  2. What an article Michelle, I love it so dearly… should write more often

    Well, I believe female football is no longer in infancy, considering all I saw in the continental showpiece I had watched , euro, afcon, concacaf ….I mean the women tournaments.

    I really think, the league management need to secure tv right for the top teams to be on tv atleast a couple of times per season , this will surely engage audience and open more doorways to the female game

  3. With all things in life there are stages of growth. Women’s football is not as popular as men’s and it also does not generate as much as income as men’s. These are things that don’t happen overnight. I personally am not at a point yet where I will go out of my way to watch a women’s game. However I did enjoy watching the Euro’s final, but that was about the only game I really watched apart from highlights. There needs to be patience, these things won’t happen overnight.

  4. Usually the wages are comparable to how popular a sport is.

    That being said, footballers (men) are grossly overpaid despite the sport being popular. You have donkeys like Lingard on over 100k a week and wonder what went wrong. I wouldn’t mind a a hard salary cap like many American sports have. The wages Man United and Man City pay are ridiculous.

  5. Interesting article, thank you.
    I have to admit, I don’t watch women’s football, and I would like to think, it doesn’t have to do with chauvinism.
    In the end, as you write, it is all about market, and I am sure women’s football is on the rise.

  6. Good article, someone that clearly understands why there is a pay gap.

    Although, the men should be earning no where near their exorbitant salaries.

    Personally, I woyld like to see a cap an salaries.

  7. Really good read
    Unfortunately the hurdle that we men need to over come is we can not compare it to the mens game
    I really enjoyed the euros. Some really good games and a great winning feeling at the end of the tournament.
    It has come long way over the past years and still has a long journey to go and the thing I love about the women’s game is when I look around in the crowd I see young faces. You girls, families enjoying the moment
    May it long continue to keep rising and I for one will support the set up.
    Unfortunately money does corrupt good things no matter what we think so I am worried for the future but without it the game can’t grow

  8. Michelle, a comprehensive sumationof facts and reasons for the discrepancy. I think you mightconsider writing another piece though – as you certainly CAN write- which tackles the whole subject of how the mens game got itself into the obscene position of paying mere footnallers, however talented they be,many times more than the salaries of those who save lives .

    Not merely surgeons either or nurses, but those who are in all emergency services and those who fix power lines, drive buses,teachour kids, dig roads, empty bins and MANY OTHER JOBS, all of which are far more vital to the safe running of ordinary peoples lives than the MINORITY of our race who watch and love football. Context!

    I say this as a 71 year old who has followed and loved Arsenal for 65 years and as one who knows its true and proper place in society.

    And THAT PLACE is not to earn hundreds of thousands of pounds a week That is a moral crime , in my view.

    I do hope you and others too will seriously think about this post Michelle.

  9. I’m all for equal pay but not on this the article clearly stated,the revenues brought by women’s football do not come even close to men’ the last few years women have started earning better wages , especially in the WSL and that doesn’t include sponsorship deals,not only that they are working in much better conditions,from training facilities,they are well looked after by medical ,physio…. steps I say.

  10. It’s simply cost-benefit business, albeit with a sports facet attached.

    Supply and demand in a free market explains the difference. Good athletes but not on a level close to the men.

    Equal rights and equal opportunities don’t equate to equal results. The league and women’s sports in general will continue to grow and improve but it will never be on par with the men’s football.

    I’m aware my comments could be mistaken as sexist, but I merely speak the truth as the majority of consumers and the free market sees it.

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