Lack of Women’s World Cup bump not a problem as NWSL attendance soars with new stadiums, increased investment

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In some ways, the NWSL’s biggest storyline is itself. The league has spent the last couple of years publicly documenting its exponential rise in several categories, including its brand-new media rights deal, one which is reportedly the most valuable in women’s soccer. Chief among them over the course of the 2023 season, though, is the attendance figures.
The NWSL’s overall attendance grew 40% from last year after more than 1.2 million fans packed stadiums during the regular season, commissioner Jessica Berman said in a Friday press conference. Average attendance is up 26% league-wide, and new single game attendance mark was also notched when more than 34,000 filled Lumen Field for Megan Rapinoe’s final regular season home game with the OL Reign. The NWSL will likely cap off a strong year for attendances with a sizable crowd for Saturday’s championship at Snapdragon Stadium, which has quickly emerged as an incredibly hospitable venue for women’s soccer. Fans can stream the match live on CBS or with the Paramount+ premium plan.
What is most impressive, though, is that most of the league’s teams could brag about moments of their own this season. Nine teams drew more than 10,000 fans on at least one occasion and the league doubled the number of games that hit that attendance record this season. Eight of the NWSL’s 12 teams set or equaled individual attendance records in 2023, while 10 teams saw their average crowd size increase from last year’s numbers.
The near-universal success comes amidst a wide range of strategies that allowed both expansion teams and older sides to excel, providing a positive outlook on the league’s health in the process.
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