Women’s football has been on the rise for a number of years as it aims to establish itself in the mainstream. With each international tournament, there appears to be more and more interest, and now that said tournaments are being televised globally, there are more eyes on the sport than ever before, with the recent Women’s World Cup a resounding success.
The Women’s World Cup 2023 took place in Australia and New Zealand, and even in the run-up to the competition, records were being broken. Tickets were being sold at record rates, and days into the tournament, over 1.5 million tickets had been bought, leading to record attendances. The European Championships of 2022 were a big hit, but everything ramped up, such as things like football betting online, where record numbers of bets and traffic were recorded. And this kind of thing was seen across the board.
What was always going to be the aim for this World Cup, in particular, to once again raise the profile of the women’s game, which has happened with every international tournament. FIFA President Gianni Infantino recognised this from the get-go and was quick to praise everyone, “I’m a happy man, and there are hundreds of thousands of happy men, women, girls and boys who come to matches and millions and millions watching it from home. So, a great success.”
Using the opening day as an example, where hosts New Zealand took on Norway, and fellow hosts Australia faced off against the Republic of Ireland, there were more than 117,000 fans in attendance combined, with 42,137 in Auckland and 75,784 in Sydney. The latter being another record this World Cup smashed, with the attendance in Sydney the highest ever seen in women’s football to date.
When the first round of matches had been completed in their entirety, the total attendance was 459,547, with the average being 28,721. And what’s important about this is that when compared with the 2019 Women’s World Cup, there was a 54% increase, which is a considerable jump and one to take note of. The fan festivals hosted by FIFA proved to be a hit, too, and this arguably was a factor in attracting more people to the games than ever before.
As well as those who watched live, what was also integral was for the whole tournament to be watchable around the globe, which it was. Over two billion viewers tuned in, another record, with 130 broadcasters in 200 territories facilitating the record viewing figures. It’s another tick in the box towards continuing to raise the profile of the women’s game rapidly.
Spain ran out winners against England, with the latter knocking out the former as they won the Euros last year. So, next up, England will defend their Euros crown, and Spain will be out to wrestle the trophy from them as they aim to be champions of Europe and the world. And, it should be another international women’s tournament where more records will be broken and progress made.