The clubs in England's Women's Super League and Women's Championship announced on Tuesday that they unanimously agreed on the formation of NewCo, an independent organization that will be responsible for operating the top two women's soccer leagues in the country.
Former investment banker and Nike executive Nikki Doucet has also been named the CEO of NewCo, which is a working title, and will begin her new role immediately. NewCo plans to be in charge of both leagues by the start of the 2024-25 season.
Golazo Starting XI Newsletter
Get your Soccer Fix from Around the Globe
Your ultimate guide to the Beautiful Game as our experts take you beyond the pitch and around the globe with news that matters.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
"Having already worked with the clubs and the FA for a number of months, I've been incredibly encouraged by the collective desire and shared ambition to make our leagues the most distinctive, competitive and entertaining women's club competitions in the world," Doucet said in a statement. "Together, we now have an opportunity to see further transformational growth across our leagues by maximising the unique qualities, values and principles that we see in the women's game, and keeping the players and the fans at the heart of everything we do."
Under the new structure, WSL clubs will earn 75% of revenue while WC clubs will claim the remaining 25%. WSL clubs will also have voting power on commercial and broadcast agreements, per The Athletic. WC clubs reportedly rejected the deal at one point but were reportedly convinced by the FA's argument in favor of the arrangement.
The FA currently runs both the WSL and the WC since they were formed in 2010 and 2014, respectively, but it has always viewed this arrangement as a temporary one. The day before the Women's Euro began in England in July 2022, which the home team went on to win, the federation announced its intent to help create a standalone company that would operate the top two women's leagues in a model similar to their male counterparts and also the NWSL, the WSL's American equivalent.
As a result, the FA fully supported the creation of NewCo and will participate in the transition.
"Nikki is a very exciting appointment as CEO – her passion, determination, experience, and acumen, coupled with the unified approach of our clubs, is the perfect combination as we look to the future with the NewCo," Baroness Sue Campbell, FA director of women's football said in a statement. This is a historical moment for the women's professional game in this country, and it is a move that will see our clubs and players make even bigger strides both on and off the pitch."
The popularity of women's soccer has been steadily climbing in England and has hit new levels since England's triumph at last year's Euros and this year's Women's World Cup, when they reached the final. Attendances and viewership have risen for both the national team and the domestic leagues, which provides a handful of business opportunities for the WSL and WC.
Chief among them is a new domestic broadcast deal, which the NewCo under Doucet's leadership will be responsible for landing. The current agreement with Sky and the BBC, reportedly worth around $10 million a year, expires at the end of the 2023-24 season.
The NewCo will be expected to land a more valuable deal considering the exponential rise in demand for the women's game both domestically and internationally and could look to the NWSL as a reference point. The U.S. league recently inked a new four year deal with CBS, ESPN, Amazon and Ion reportedly valued at $60 million annually.