WSL teams plan more games at men’s stadiums after record attendance

Women’s football clubs are planning to hold more Women’s Super League (WSL) matches at men’s stadiums this season after the Euros inspired record crowd attendances.

Every WSL club has committed to hosting at least one game at men’s stadiums this season, with Arsenal leading the way by hosting six games at the Emirates.

More than 47,000 watched the WSL table-toppers, Arsenal, beat Tottenham 4-0 at the Emirates on 24 September, while almost 28,000 were present at the Merseyside derby at Anfield on the same weekend.

Additionally, this weekend, Chelsea’s WSL match against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge has sold out.

BREAKING RECORDS: Hosting women’s football at men’s stadiums is boosting attendance figures – such as last year’s match between Arsenal and Chelsea.
Photo credit: Chris Lee, Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Arsenal captain Kim Little said: “For me playing at the Emirates feels like home now.

“We feel really supported, we get to play in an unbelievable stadium and on a great pitch.

“When you’ve got a full crowd cheering you on at the Emirates, to have the fans there supporting us, it’s a really special feeling.”

The 32-year-old midfielder said she was delighted by the increase of games being played at the Emirates, with more potential fixtures if they progress further in the Champions League.

She said: “I think it’s so important for us to play our regular games there as it gives us a platform to keep growing our fanbase and the visibility of our game.

“When you’re looking at how many tickets Barcelona have sold at Camp Nou, I think that’s a real statement and something all our clubs should be striving for to show that people want to watch the women’s games.

“When games are put on at the stadiums and promoted and marketed well, there’s a want for it.”

SUCCESS ON AND OFF THE PITCH: WSL league table toppers Arsenal are leading the way with Emirates fixtures. Photo credit: joshjdss

The growing trend is a result of both the Lionesses’ Euro success and a steady rise in attendance during the 2021/22 season despite dwindling attendance after the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Despite the costs of hosting WSL games currently outweighing profits, clubs are recognising that these games are crucial for growing the sport. 

Arsenal has built on the four games held at the Emirates during the 2021/22 season, which also helped boost attendance at the women’s ground Meadow Park.

Head coach Jonas Eidevall said: “The backing we received both at Meadow Park and Emirates Stadium was unbelievable. 

“Whether you sit in the stands or are playing in the match, we are all part of one team – one family.

“That’s what makes this club so special.”

Featured image credit: Chris Lee, Chelsea FC via Getty Images

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