Revenue from major women's sports should cross the $1 billion threshold in 2024, marking a threefold spike from just three years ago, according to a leading consulting and accounting firm.
"Women's elite sports" — which includes professional leagues around the world and high-level amateur competitions such as NCAA Division I events and the Olympics — is on target to generate $1.28 billion in expected revenue this upcoming year, Deloitte researchers said in a report released this week, outlining various 2024 financial predictions.
The $1.28 billion total still pales in comparison to revenues generated by men's sports.
But compared to a similar took at worldwide women's sports revenue in 2021, the $1.28 billion total marks a threefold spike, signaling the increasingly high floor and potential lofty ceiling of women's sports as a consumer product, Deloitte researchers said.
"The total number is interesting, the fact it's over $1 billion for the first time —?but I think the 300% number is the real story," Deloitte’s global and U.S. sports practice leader, Pete Giorgio, told NBC News on Wednesday.
"I'd love that number to be a lot bigger and I think it's going to continue to grow."
This past year's national semifinals and final of the NCAA women's basketball tournament drew unprecedented interest as fans tuned in to watch national player of the year Caitlin Clark, undefeated South Carolina and eventual champion LSU.
The National Women’s Soccer League recently agreed to an expanded TV package that'll be worth $240 million over four years with matches to be shown on CBS, ESPN, Prime Video and Scripps Sports.
The WNBA season ended on Oct. 18 with the Las Vegas Aces defending their title with a Game 4 victory over the New York Liberty, in a contest that average 889,000 TV viewers. That audience was more than double the Game 4 viewership of last season when Las Vegas beat Connecticut for the trophy.
The new?Professional Women’s Hockey League —?with teams in New York, Boston, Minnesota, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa —? is set to launch next month.
"There's something here," Giorgio said. "The capital markets agree, the investors agree, you're seeing it in terms of money flowing into this space."
Anne Blaschke, an associate lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Boston, said the increasing exposure of high-level women's sports has far-reaching implications
"When women play sports it shows them in very public ways as symbols of strength, perseverance and competitiveness in ways you don't usually get to see women when they're excelling at work or as parents," said Blaschke, who teaches in the American Studies Department, specializing in U.S. political culture, gender and sports.?
"Sports is a very public and very exciting and we get to see people doing things that are remarkable, that very few other human beings can do."