Nat Sciver-Brunt became one of Britain’s highest-paid sportswomen in Monday’s auction for the inaugural Women’s Premier League.
Mumbai Indians paid 3.2 crore rupees, or around £320,000, to select the all-rounder in the sister competition of the Indian Premier League while her England team-mate Sophie Ecclestone went to UP Warriorz for 1.8 crore (£180,000).
While prize money, such as for Emma Raducanu’s 2021 US Open win, and an emerging batch of endorsement deals will present a different picture, Sciver-Brunt’s windfall in particular stands out in salary terms.
She ranked behind only India’s star batter Smriti Mandhana in the auction prices and for less than a month’s work she will dwarf her England earnings.
ECB central contracts are understood to be worth between £60,000 and £100,000 per year – batter Sophia Dunkley was another player celebrating after being picked up by Gujarat Giants for the lower end of that range, while Alice Capsey earned £75,000 from the Delhi Capitals.
By way of comparison, the top price band in the ECB’s domestic franchise competition the Hundred is £31,250 in the women’s competition. Ecclestone and Sciver-Brunt entered the WPL bidding at a base price of £50,000, with Sciver-Brunt benefiting from a bidding war between Mumbai and the Warriorz after early interest from Delhi. The Warriorz, led by England coach Jon Lewis, outbid the Giants for Ecclestone’s services.
Across domestic women’s sport there are very few comparable earning opportunities, with England’s European champion footballers among the highest-profile stars. The Lionesses earn the same match fees as their male counterparts, a reported £2,000 per match, with central contracts starting from £15,000 and typically paying around £30,000.
Jill Scott, who retired after England’s win, broadened her horizons outside football with a reported £120,000 fee for her victorious stint on reality show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Sciver-Brunt and Ecclestone will both exceed that, and are unlikely to be locked in a cage of rats or need medics to remove cockroaches from their ears for the privilege.
Salaries in the Women’s Super League range from around £20,000 per year to Chelsea striker Sam Kerr’s reported league-leading salary of £400,000.
England’s rugby stars, who put together a world record 30-match winning run on their way to last year’s World Cup final, have central contracts reportedly worth between £26,000 and £32,000 plus match fees of £800. That compares poorly to New Zealand, who beat them in that final, whose players can earn up to double that upper limit plus assembly fees of up to £10,000 per year and plus pensions and other benefits.
Netball, a sport in which England have enjoyed huge recent success and which has a growing profile on Sky Sports, has a reported salary cap of £70,000. That is for a squad of 10, with two additional marquee players outside the cap.