After four of the six Women’s Super League games taking place this weekend were played at the larger men’s Premier League and Championship football stadiums of their respective sides – taking advantage of the ongoing international break – the league confirmed it smashed a number of attendance records.
More than 70,000 people turned out across the country to watch the women’s football matches, including a record 38,262 supporters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to watch Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over north London rivals Spurs.
In Liverpool, Anfield hosted its firstever Women’s Super League match – as 23,500 supporters watched the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, which ended in a 1-0 victory to the Toffees.
The figures reflect a growing interest in the women’s game across the UK, and even at games not held at Premier League or Championship stadiums saw a boost in crowd attendances.
Chelsea’s home fixture against Manchester United was held at their usual Kingsmeadow home ground, and also saw a record, sell-out crowd of 4,790 supporters attending.
Increased supporter numbers were likely also boosted by the current international break in the men’s game, and a series of favourable kick off times for the England national team – not clashing with any of the Women’s Super League games.
However, even despite the benefits of favourable scheduling, the significant attendances will have stood as a testament to the potential present for women’s football commercially.
One of the biggest issues afflicting the women’s game, compared with their male counterparts, is the money involved. Potential advertisers and TV revenue deals just aren’t there, compared with the men’s game, largely due to the unproven nature of widespread support for the women’s game. As such, investment is seen as a much a greater risk.
Therefore, the success of the recent Women’s World Cup, and attendances at England women’s matches and now the Women’s Super League are a major step in the right direction.