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FIFA Women's World Cup sees record attendance, 1.5 million tickets sold

With viewership also expected to touch 2 billion this year, up from 1.12 billion in 2019, and sponsorship packages sold out, the World Cup is set to become the biggest standalone women's event

Naini Thaker
Published: Jul 26, 2023 03:23:58 PM IST
Updated: Jul 26, 2023 03:38:21 PM IST

FIFA Women's World Cup sees record attendance, 1.5 million tickets soldSteph Catley of Australia celebrates with team mates after scoring a goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group B match between Australia and Ireland at Stadium Australia on July 20, 2023 in Sydney, Australia; Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 that began in Australia and New Zealand a week ago is turning out to be a huge success. The matches are seeing record attendance, with more than 1.5 million tickets sold for 64 matches.

As per a FIFA press release, the opening match between New Zealand v Norway in Auckland saw 42,137 people attending—an all-time high for a football match in the country, men or women. The Australia v Republic of Ireland match in Sydney saw 75,784 fans—the highest attendance at a FIFA Women’s World Cup for 24 years.

“After Tuesday’s game between Korea Republic and Colombia completed the first round of matches, the total attendance over the first 16 games was 459,547 with an average of 28,721—a 54 percent increase compared to the first 16 games of the previous tournament in France in 2019,” stated the release.

Not just attendance, the FIFA Women’s World Cup is expected to be broadcast across 200 territories through 130 broadcasters. “We have incredible viewing figures across the world which will definitely reach two billion viewers. It’s fantastic,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. As per data released by market research company Euromonitor International, over 2 billion people are expected to tune into the world cup matches, up from 1.12 billion in 2019. As per FOX, the United States vs Vietnam match, “drew 6.26 million viewers, making it the most-watched soccer telecast in the US since last year’s men’s World Cup final.”

Infantino further added: “The matches are of an extremely high quality. For the first time, 32 countries (are participating), eight debutants, and (there have been) great games, great goals (and) some underdogs who create some surprises or give a tough time to the favourites.”

The comes at a time when women’s football leagues, three in particular—Germany's Frauen Bundesliga, England’s Women’s Super League (WSL) and the USA’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)—are recording rapid growth.

Also read: Women footballers to now get paid as much as men in the US

As per broadcasting partner Sky, the viewership of English Women’s Super League (WSL) has increased by 70 percent in the 2022-23 season. The viewership of the league between January and May 2022 was around 21.2 million. Though this is much lower compared to the 3.2 billion viewers for Premier League, the numbers are only going to grow.

Even the match attendance figures have been rising. For instance, the English WSL grew by 729 percent, stated a Euromonitor International release. Similarly, attendance for Germany’s Frauen Bundesliga has also grown by close to 190 percent over the past five years.

FIFA Women's World Cup sees record attendance, 1.5 million tickets soldCosta Rica fans show their support during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group C match between Japan and Costa Rica at Dunedin Stadium on July 26, 2023 in Dunedin / Ōtepoti, New Zealand; Photo by Matthew Lewis - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Commenting on this trend, Dorothy Calba, senior analyst at Euromonitor International, said in a statement, “Attendance during the club season of 2022-23 was spurred forward by a very highly attended and viewed 2022 UEFA European Women’s Championship. This helped grow attendance in European markets, but also grew international interest in the game.” 

Also read: How women in sports are forever playing catch-up

Yet, there is a lot of scope for improvement, Calba adds. “There is still a lot of room for expansion to reach the average attendance levels on the men’s side and consistent investment from sponsors can help drive this growth. The Women’s World Cup 2023 is also likely to aid this growth as fans flock to stadiums next season to watch the stars of the tournament.”

With growing viewership, the interest from sponsors was also bound to rise. FIFA announced the tournament is expected to be backed by an extensive commercial roster, as all their sponsorship packages have been sold out. There are five global FIFA partners, two global women’s football partners, nine global FIFA Women’s World Cup sponsors and 14 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament supporters. Commercial partners for the tournament have increased from 12 in 2019 to 30 this year.

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