Sports

10 Most Popular Female Sports Leagues in the World

SusanLesch/Wikimedia Commons

Female sports will be welcoming a new kid to the block in January 2025 when the Unrivaled 3-on-3 women’s basketball league makes its debut. Despite the significant achievements and astounding talent in the world’s most popular female sports leagues, professional women’s sports often receive less attention and resources than men’s. From media coverage and salaries to sponsorship opportunities and promotional campaigns, female athletes are given short shrift. Though they get but a fraction of the resources and opportunities that their male counterparts receive, these ladies nonetheless give it their all, playing with spirit and passion. Gathering our data from the leading global sports platform SponsorUnited, 24/7 Wall St. has created a list of the most popular female sports leagues in the world, based on sponsorship deals.

You might be surprised to discover that tennis is conspicuously missing from the list, especially considering that nine out of ten of the highest-paid female athletes are tennis players with off-field earnings in the six-and-seven-figure range. Curious in any event. Continue reading to see if your favorite league made the cut, presented in reverse order.

Why It Matters

Crypto trader investor analyst broker using pc computer analyzing digital cryptocurrency exchange stock market charts graphs thinking of investing funds risks in trading platform global analytics.
Source: Ground Picture / Shutterstock.com

When it comes to investing, having knowledge regarding the most popular female sports leagues in the world can give investors a leg-up. From uniforms and equipment to construction projects for stadiums and arenas to merchandising opportunities, understanding which leagues have a solid following is infinitely helpful when considering when and where to invest in female sports leagues.

10. Women's British Basketball League

Source: Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons
Temi Fengbenle rushes the goal
  • Sport: Basketball
  • Country: Great Britain
  • Established: 2014
  • Number of teams in the league: 11
  • Salary: Undetermined, but at most UK£36.000 (US$45.5k)

Love of the Game

Source: Lorrie Shaull/Wikimrdia Commons
Jordin Canada (with ball) and Temi Fengbenle

The Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL) is the premier professional basketball league for women in the United Kingdom. Composed of 11 teams from England and Scotland, the league provides a competitive platform with a growing fanbase. A decade in, the WBBL continues to gain momentum and respect.

9. Telstra NRL Women's Premiership

Source: Leigh McMahon
Brisbane
  • Sport: Rugby
  • Country: Australia
  • Established: 2018
  • Number of teams in the league: 10
  • Salary: Australian$30,000-60,000 (US$20k-40k)

Scrum(ptious)

Source: Pierre-Yves Beaudouin/Wikimedia Commons
Rugby World Cup

The Telstra NRL Women’s Premiership (NRLW) is Australia’s elite rugby league competition for women. Launched in 2018 as part of the National Rugby League’s commitment to expanding the sport’s reach, the league is composed of 10 teams that showcase top-tier talent from across Australia and New Zealand. Its rapidly growing popularity is contributing significantly to the development and visibility of women’s rugby league on an international scale.

8. Barclay's Women's Super League

Source: James Boyes /Wikimedia Commons
Lewes v. Chelsea
  • Sport: football (soccer)
  • Country: England
  • Established: 2010
  • Number of teams in the league: 12
  • Average salary: UK£47,000 (US$60k)

Football (Soccer)

Source: Kevin Walsh from Bicester, England/Wikimedia Commons
Liverpool LFC

Number eight on 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the 10 most popular female sports leagues in the world is Barclay’s Women Super League. Established in 2010, Barclay’s Women’s Super League (WSL) is the highest level of professional women’s football in England. The league attracts top players from around the world due to its competitive nature and semi-decent wage. The WSL has advanced women’s football in England, with increased sponsorships, media coverage, and attendance figures reflecting its growing appeal

7. Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby

Source: Markjsmccall/Wikimedia Commons
Loughborough Lightning
  • Sport: Rugby
  • Country: England
  • Established: 2017
  • Number of teams in the league: 9
  • Average salary: Team cap of UK£190,000 (US$240,000) distributed across 50 women

Rugged and Determined

Source: Pierre-Yves Beaudouin/Wikimedia Commons
Rugby World Cup

Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby is the top-tier domestic women’s rugby league in England, launched in 2017 by the Rugby Football Union (RFU). Comprised of 10 teams affiliated with Premiership men’s clubs, Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby has significantly raised the profile of women’s rugby in England, attracting international talent and fostering a competitive environment that promotes skill development.

6. Australian Football League – Women

Source: DustyNail/Wikimedia Commons
Chloe Molloy
  • Sport: Football (soccer)
  • Country: Australia
  • Established: 2017
  • Number of teams in the league: 18
  • Average salary: Australian$40,000-75,000 (US$26k-50k)

Football Aussie Style

Source: DustyNail/Wikimedia Commons
Karen Paxman

Though the AFL-Women wasn’t established until 2017, women have been playing Australian rules football since 1917! The Women’s Australian Football League (AFLW) has evolved into a highly competitive league featuring teams from major cities across Australia. The AFLW has played a pivotal role in promoting gender equality in Australian sports, drawing large crowds and significant media coverage. It has also inspired young girls nationwide to participate in Australian rules football, preserving a sport that is woven into the culture of the island nation.

5. Betfred Women's Super League

Source: EdwardUK/Wikimedia Commons
York Valkyrie
  • Sport: Rugby
  • Country: England
  • Established: 2017
  • Number of teams in the league: 8
  • Average salary: Undetermined

British Rugby

Source: Nthep/Wikimedia Commopns
Jodie Cunningham

Entering the scrum at number five on 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the 10 most popular female sports leagues in the world is the Betfred Women’s Super League (WSL). The WSL is the top professional rugby league for women in England. Launched in 2017, the league features eight teams from various regions across England. The season typically runs from March to October and includes a playoff series to determine the champion.

4. Liga F- Women

Source: MichaelEmilio/Wikimedia Commons
Liga-F is the ultimate football league in Spain.
  • Sport: Soccer
  • Country: Spain
  • Established: 1988
  • Number of teams in the league: 16
  • Average salary: minimum Euro€22,500 (US$24k)

An Established League

Source: LasColchoneras/Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 1988, Liga Femenina de Fútbol (Liga F) is Spain’s professional women’s football league. The league features teams from across Spain, showcasing the talents of both Spanish players and international stars. Over the years, Liga F has acquired a dedicated fanbase, attention from the media, and a reputation for talent and professionalism.

3. NWLS – National Women's Soccer League

Source: Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images
Mia Hamm
  • Sport: Soccer (football)
  • Country: USA
  • Established: 2012
  • Number of teams in the league: 14
  • Average salary: minimum US$36,400; average US$65,000

Soccer (Football)

Source: Steph Chambers/Getty Images
Megan Rapinoe (right)

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is the ultimate professional women’s soccer league in the United States. Established in 2012 the league consists of 14 teams from major U.S. cities. The NWSL has served as a platform for both American and international players to showcase their skills. In recent years, the league has expanded its fanbase and secured significant corporate partnerships, bolstering its reputation as a leading women’s sports league. The league is expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with one aa as yet unnamed team from Boston, and one still to be determined.

2. Women's Liga MX

Source: Secretaría de Cultura Ciudad de México/Wikimedia Commons
Brenda Garcia
  • Sport: football (soccer)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Established: 2016
  • Number of teams in the league: 18
  • Average salary: Varies dramatically

Liga MX Femenil

Source: Secretaría de Cultura Ciudad de México/Wikimedia Commons
Liliana Rodriguez

Women’s Liga MX, officially Liga MX Femenil, is the top-tier women’s football league in Mexico. Established in 2017 by the Mexicancinotball Federation (FMF), the league features 18 teams affiliated with clubs from Liga MX, the country’s premier men’s football division. The women have gained a reputation for being talented and competitive. The Liga MX Femenil season is composed of regular-season matches and playoffs. Summer 2024 brings the NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup, featuring the top six Liga MX Femenil clubs playing against the United States National Women’s Soccer League in a series of 30 matches.

1. WNBA- Women's National Basketball Association

Source: John Mac/Wikimedia Commons
Caitlin Clark
  • Sport: Basketball
  • Country: USA
  • Established: 1996
  • Number of teams in the league: 12 (2024)
  • Average salary: US$150k
Source: Mike Mattina / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images
Brittany Griner

Coming in at number one on 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the 10 most popular female sports leagues in the world is the Women’s National Basketball Association. The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is the top professional basketball league for women in the United States. Established in 1996 by theNBA, the WNBA currently has 12 teams representing major cities across the U.S. The league will expand to 14 teams with the addition of the Golden State Valkyries in 2025 and a yet-to-be-named team out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

ALERT: Take This Retirement Quiz Now  (Sponsored)

Take the quiz below to get matched with a financial advisor today.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests.

Here’s how it works:
1. Answer SmartAsset advisor match quiz
2. Review your pre-screened matches at your leisure. Check out the advisors’ profiles.
3. Speak with advisors at no cost to you. Have an introductory call on the phone or introduction in person and choose whom to work with in the future

Take the retirement quiz right here.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.