Players will receive many different types of bonus, depending on their individual performance as well as the collective success of the team. Various success bonuses – including for an appearance, a win, a goal, and a clean sheet – will significantly top up a player’s basic wage and can add as much as 20–30% extra on top of what a player is guaranteed to earn. That could mean an additional £1m that a club has to pay to particularly important players when the team is successful.
It is therefore important to note that a club with a number of significant performance-related bonuses will have a larger bonus liability if the team performs well on the pitch.
By contrast, top female players will earn only a fraction of the amounts on offer in the men’s game. Top female players may earn £60,000–80,000 per season, which may include particular individual endorsement deals. In addition, England internationals are paid by the FA through central contracts. It is reported that up to 30 players per season are awarded central contracts (worth up to £30,000), which supplement a player’s club income. The annual salary for a female player can equal the weekly wage of an elite male player. It was reported that US international player Alex Morgan was one of the top earning female players in 2015, earning £1.9m mostly by way of endorsement deals with Nike, McDonald’s, Coke and EA Sports. Alex is the exception to the rule at present. Indeed, the average annual salary of players in the English Women’s Super League in 2017 was reported by the SportingIntelligence website to be £26,000. Compare and contrast this to the average annual Premier League salary of £2.6m. Thankfully, the growing global popularity of the women’s game means that this gap, though stark at present, may well start to narrow.
England players like Jill Scott and Steph Houghton are front and centre in a number of Manchester City’s global marketing campaigns. In the #SameCity campaign, they are pictured alongside manager Pep Guardiola and senior male players. With commercial sponsorship and broadcasting revenues set to grow, this will filter down to the players as they become national and international superstars.