FIFA Women’s World Cup Timeline: 1991‒2019
The ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup that kicked off this summer in Australia and New Zealand is expected to break records.
For the first time, 32 teams are competing at the premier international event for women’s soccer, up from 24 teams in the two prior editions. And according to FIFA, the tournament is already on pace to become the most attended women’s sports event in history, with over a million tickets already sold.
Eight countries are making their debut in the tournament after qualifying for the first time:
- 🇵🇭 Philippines
- 🇮🇪 Ireland
- 🇿🇲 Zambia
- 🇭🇹 Haiti
- 🇻🇳 Vietnam
- 🇵🇹 Portugal
- 🇵🇦 Panama
- 🇲🇦 Morocco
How has the tournament grown?
This graphic created by JVDW Designs explores the timeline of this tournament, from its origins with only 12 teams in 1991 to expansions during the 21st century.
The Origins of Women’s Soccer
Though there are reports of women’s soccer matches as early as the 1700s, the sport started to grow in popularity in 1895 thanks to the British Ladies’ Football Club (BLFC), one of the first women’s soccer clubs.
Despite receiving no support from soccer associations in the UK, the club held its inaugural match in London and then went on tour. They received a lot of attention in the press, both due to the sport itself and debates in Victorian England over women’s rights.
After gaining in popularity over the next decades and even drawing bigger crowds than men’s matches, England’s governing soccer association retaliated by banning women’s soccer in 1921. The stated reason was that “the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.”
Other countries followed suit over time, sidelining women’s soccer from France to Brazil. It wasn’t until the success of the 1966 Men’s World Cup in England, which set records for attendance and was the first to be broadcast to other continents, that England and then other countries in Europe re-established women’s soccer due to increased interest.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup
After multiple international tournaments in the 1970s and 1980s, FIFA finally organized the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in 1991.
At the outset, the athletes participating in the Women’s World Cup were not treated as professionals. In her 2019 book, sports journalist Caitlyn Murray details that uniforms were sometimes hand-me-downs from men’s teams, and accommodations during travel were far from luxurious. Notably, the tournament also lacked prize money until 2007.
In total, 35 different national teams have participated in at least one of the eight tournaments held through 2019. Here is the full list, with host countries noted in bold:
|Country||Women's World Cups Attended|
|🇺🇸 United States||1991, 1995,1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇸🇪 Sweden||1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇧🇷 Brazil||1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇳🇴 Norway||1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇩🇪 Germany||1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇯🇵 Japan||1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇳🇬 Nigeria||1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇨🇳 China||1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015, 2019|
|🇨🇦 Canada||1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇦🇺 Australia||1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||1991, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🏴 England||1995, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇩🇰 Denmark||1991, 1995, 1999, 2007|
|🇰🇵 North Korea||1999, 2003, 2007, 2011|
|🇫🇷 France||2003, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|🇮🇹 Italy||1991, 1999, 2019|
|🇲🇽 Mexico||1999, 2011, 2015|
|🇦🇷 Argentina||2003, 2007, 2019|
|🇰🇷 South Korea||2003, 2015, 2019|
|🇷🇺 Russia||1999, 2003|
|🇨🇴 Colombia||2011, 2015|
|🇨🇲 Cameroon||2015, 2019|
|🇳🇱 Netherlands||2015, 2019|
|🇪🇸 Spain||2015, 2019|
|🇹🇭 Thailand||2015, 2019|
|🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||2011|
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||2015|
|🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire||2015|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||2019|
From the onset, the U.S. emerged as dominant forces in the women’s game. They won the inaugural official tournament in 1991 and are one of just seven countries that have qualified for each edition of the Women’s World Cup from 1991 to 2019.
In total, the American side has won four FIFA Women’s World Cups so far. Throughout the tournament’s history, they’ve never finished lower than third place.
|🇺🇸 United States||4|
The all-time leading World Cup goal scorer, however, comes from Brazil. Marta Vieira da Silva, or “Queen Marta,” etched her name in history by scoring an impressive 17 goals across five World Cups for Brazil, surpassing the men’s World Cup goalscoring record of 16 goals.
As the ninth edition unfolds, the tournament’s growth and global appeal continue to soar. With an even brighter future in the cards for women’s soccer, the question remains: who will come out on top in the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Ranked: The World’s Most Valuable Football Club Brands
Which clubs, aside from competing on the pitch, also compete as football brands? How much are the most valuable club brands worth?
Ranked: The World’s Most Valuable Football Club Brands
When the oldest national football competition—the FA Cup—was first played in 1872, the players didn’t get paid, clubs were local associations, and there were no such things as football brands.
Skip ahead a century and a half and many football clubs have comparable levels of global recognition to well-known consumer brands like Apple or Coca-Cola, while simultaneously commanding immense loyalty from fans from all walks of life.
These characteristics have immense financial worth. Today we find out which clubs, aside from competing on the pitch, also compete as football brands. Brand Finance, a brand valuation and strategy consultancy, has compiled a list of the world’s 50 most valuable football club brands.
Which Football Club Has the Most Valuable Brand?
Prized at $1.56 billion in 2023, Manchester City FC of England’s Premier League takes the top spot as the most valuable football brand.
The club’s brand value grew 13.5% in the last year, a testament to the club’s recent and sustained success on the domestic and international fronts. It has won the Premier league seven times since 2011, and in 2023 the club completed a historic “treble”—winning the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup, all in one season.
Here’s a look at the world’s top 50 most valued football club brands, listed in USD millions.
|1||Manchester City FC||🇬🇧 UK||$1,562||+13.50%|
|2||Real Madrid CF||🇪🇸 Spain||$1,513||-14.40%|
|3||FC Barcelona||🇪🇸 Spain||$1,425||-7.20%|
|4||Manchester United FC||🇬🇧 UK||$1,412||-2.60%|
|5||Liverpool FC||🇬🇧 UK||$1,411||-4.40%|
|6||Paris Saint-Germain||🇫🇷 France||$1,174||-1.40%|
|7||FC Bayern Munich||🇩🇪 Germany||$1,140||-11.30%|
|8||Arsenal FC||🇬🇧 UK||$940||+0.02%|
|9||Tottenham Hotspur FC||🇬🇧 UK||$931||-8.00%|
|10||Chelsea FC||🇬🇧 UK||$893||-9.90%|
|11||Juventus FC||🇮🇹 Italy||$655||-19.90%|
|12||Club Atletico de Madrid||🇪🇸 Spain||$570||-15.10%|
|13||Borussia Dortmund||🇩🇪 Germany||$562||-6.30%|
|14||FC Internazionale Milano||🇮🇹 Italy||$528||-8.00%|
|15||AC Milan||🇮🇹 Italy||$371||+0.19%|
|16||West Ham United FC||🇬🇧 UK||$320||-6.40%|
|17||Newcastle United FC||🇬🇧 UK||$259||+0.17%|
|18||SSC Napoli||🇮🇹 Italy||$249||+0.18%|
|19||RasenBallsport Leipzig||🇩🇪 Germany||$231||-18.40%|
|20||Aston Villa FC||🇬🇧 UK||$222||+0.04%|
|21||AS Roma||🇮🇹 Italy||$212||+0.01%|
|22||Eintracht Frankfurt||🇩🇪 Germany||$210||-5.40%|
|23||Everton FC||🇬🇧 UK||$205||-13.60%|
|24||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||🇩🇪 Germany||$202||-8.00%|
|25||Sevilla FC||🇪🇸 Spain||$196||-5.10%|
Hove Albion FC
|27||Leicester City||🇬🇧 UK||$187||-40.70%|
|28||Olympique De Marseille||🇫🇷 France||$179||+0.07%|
|29||Crystal Palace||🇬🇧 UK||$174||-1.70%|
|30||AFC Ajax||🇳🇱 Netherlands||$172||-18.90%|
|31||Olympique Lyonnais||🇫🇷 France||$166||-6.90%|
|32||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||🇬🇧 UK||$166||-29.80%|
|33||Leeds United||🇬🇧 UK||$160||-25.60%|
|34||Real Betis||🇪🇸 Spain||$159||+0.17%|
|35||Borussia Monchengladbach||🇩🇪 Germany||$157||-18.80%|
|36||Villarreal CF||🇪🇸 Spain||$143||-6.30%|
|37||Real Sociedad||🇪🇸 Spain||$139||N/A|
|38||VfL Wolfsburg||🇩🇪 Germany||$128||-34.90%|
|39||1.FC Koln||🇩🇪 Germany||$125||-3.30%|
|40||SC Freiburg||🇩🇪 Germany||$125||N/A|
|41||SL Benfica||🇵🇹 Portugal||$123||+0.05%|
|42||Celtic FC||🇬🇧 UK||$118||-9.70%|
|43||Brentford FC||🇬🇧 UK||$118||N/A|
|44||Athletic de Bilbao||🇪🇸 Spain||$117||-23.50%|
|45||SS Lazio SpA||🇮🇹 Italy||$116||N/A|
|46||1.FC Union Berlin||🇩🇪 Germany||$112||N/A|
|47||Valencia CF||🇪🇸 Spain||$112||-38.70%|
|48||FC Porto||🇵🇹 Portugal||$105||N/A|
|49||Fulham FC||🇬🇧 UK||$104||N/A|
|50||CR Flamengo||🇧🇷 Brazil||$102||-8.80%|
Close on City’s heels, Spain’s Real Madrid CF brand is also valued slightly above $1.5 billion, but is down 14% in the last year. The club lost their hold on both their domestic league and European championship titles this season, contributing to their decrease in brand worth in 2023.
On the Catalonian side of Spain, FC Barcelona’s brand remains ranked in third place, valued at $1.4 billion. The two Spanish giants have a near duopoly over La Liga, Spain’s domestic league, with one of them having won the title 62 times in the 94 years since the league was founded.
The rivalry gained another edge in the 2000s, hosting one each of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo—two of the most-followed celebrities in the world and often regarded as some of the greatest players to play the game.
And while both Messi and Ronaldo left in the last five years, Barcelona and Real Madrid’s brands have stayed resilient. Both clubs have consistently ranked in the top five most valuable football club brands since 2013.
Four more club brands have been valued above $1 billion:
- Manchester United FC, England, ($1.41 billion)
- Liverpool FC, England ($1.41 billion)
- Paris Saint-Germain, France ($1.17 billion)
- FC Bayern Munich, Germany ($1.14 billion)
Countries with the Most Valuable Football Brands
From a regional perspective, the UK is home to the most high-worth football club brands (18), all of them in England with the sole exception of Scotland’s Celtic FC.
The UK is followed by Germany (10) and Spain (9) with the most high-valued brands. Together, the top three countries account for almost three quarters of the most valued football club brands in the world.
With an even broader-picture gaze, Europe is home to 49 of the 50 listed clubs, a testament to the strength of the European football market. The only non-European team to make the list was CR Flamengo from Brazil.
What’s in a Brand?
While the value of a football club brand is not the same as the club value itself, a strong brand can do wonders for a club’s financial performance, and eventual value.
Just look at Manchester United, which hasn’t quite regained its stellar performances on field since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013, but nevertheless continues to be a commercial juggernaut—it had the fourth highest jersey sales in 2021.
A similar story can be seen with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr when it signed Cristiano Ronaldo, which drove visits to its merchandise store up 300%.
With the new football season around the corner, it will be fascinating to see how the rankings of most valuable football brands change next year.
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