The UEFA Women’s Champions League group stage restarts this week. The competition features 11 league winners and 5 non-champions, which has a direct impact on the product.
Europe’s best teams are largely concentrated in the best leagues; three of Europe’s ten best teams according to our rankings failed to qualify (Arsenal, Manchester United, Wolfsburg), undermining the competition’s quality.
A consequence of this is firstly a lack of jeopardy; the average favourite has a 61% chance of winning each game, compared to 55% in the men’s competition.
And secondly, almost a third (31%) of the top 100 players in Europe according to our ratings will not be playing in the competition; the lack of star power limiting the connection fans are likely to feel with the competition’s personalities and narratives.
Competitions must balance competing objectives, including a need to engage all stakeholders, but a weakened product risks undermining long-term commercial success.