Manchester United is the world's most valuable football brand, and one of the highest-earning clubs in the world year after year. However, in spite of the team's considerable riches and brand recognition, Manchester United continue to not run a ladies football team. It's an odd attribute for the Red Devils to lack, seeing as competing Premier League clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool all run highly successful, top-flight ladies soccer squads. Even crosstown rivals Manchester City have a ladies soccer team. Is it time for Manchester United to add a women's team to their bottom line? Or perhaps a better question, why haven't they done so already?

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The Growing Popularity of Women's Football

Women's football is definitely gaining popularity, both in England and around the world. Just at the Manchester United Home Shirt 2015 - 2016beginning of August, the Women's FA Cup moved to Wembley Stadium for the first time ever. The event had an attendance of just over 30,000 people-just a fraction of the venue's 90,000-cap venue, but more than double the number of audience members that had turned up the year before. It was an all-time record for the event.

The 2015 Women's World Cup, meanwhile, garnered a good deal more attention than any previous incarnation of the FIFA tournament. In the United States, the tournament final-between the USA and Japan-actually garnered higher TV ratings than any other soccer event ever televised in the country. And while the United States isn't typically the target market for soccer programming, the popularity of the World Cup event-along with the massive amount of discussion about the game occurring on Twitter-showed that women's football definitely has an audience.

Manchester United's Female Fanbase 

In a damning opinion piece just published by The Independent, writer Michael Calvin took Manchester United to task for having not implemented a ladies football team already. According to Calvin, the Red Devils can "claim the world's biggest female fanbase"-a fact that would seem to make the club ripe for expansion into female soccer. Yet aside from one brief jaunt into the female side of the sport-from 2000 to 2005, when, as Calvin writes, Manchester United "subsumed existing club Corinthians"-the Red Devils have steered clear of the growing ladies football scene.

Economic Issues

Manchester United Away Shirt 2015 - 2016It would be easy to attack Manchester United for being old-fashioned and sexist in their refusal to establish a women's team, but it's also easy to see the issue from their perspective. Women's soccer, while growing in popularity, is still nowhere near as economically profitable as the men's sport. The FA Women's Cup final, for instance, showed how many seats can go unsold at even the biggest games of the year, and if seats aren't being filled, then sponsorship money isn't going to be there either.

Calvin, in his article for The Independent, even provided a "case study" in the economic hardships of women's club, looking at Newcastle's Manchester United Third Shirt 2015 - 2016ladies squad (who are currently in the third-tier of England's ladies football system) and noting that they are "sustained by volunteers," that players must "pay £250 to play," and that fund-raising by collecting loose change at grocery stores is a part of the job description. Man United might just not be willing to spend money on a ladies soccer club until they can know for sure that it will be profitable.

Do you think the Red Devils need a ladies team? Show your support for the idea by picking up a new Manchester United women's jersey 2015 2016 from Soccer Box, or find us on social media to participate in the debate! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other popular social networks.