This summer’s 2022 women’s euros is set to break records: with the final in contention for the largest attendance of any Euros match. With Wembley as it’s stage, crowds could top 90,000, a huge feat for women’s sport. The sell-out event marks a turning point; post covid spectator numbers were slow to respond to the lifting of restrictions and had struggled to build to pre pandemic values.
Women’s club football recently saw an accomplishment of their own. On Wednesday, Barcelona took on their biggest rivals, Real Madrid under the lights of Camp Nou for their second leg of the Women’s Champions League quarter final. The home side won 8-3 on aggregate in front of a record breaking 91,553 spectators. The preceding attendance record for a women’s club football game stood at 60,739 in a previous Barcelona fixture v Atletico Madrid in 2019. The indisputable support for the El Classico promises a rebuilding enthusiasm for women’s football fixtures. Ahead of the Atletico Madrid fixture in 2019, the greatest attendance record for club football had stood for almost 100 years, in the hands of some 53,000 spectators who attended Dick Kerr Ladies v St Helens Ladies at Goodison Park in 1920. Such a milestone would commemorate the recent development and funding being fed into women’s club football; an encouraging sign for both investors and the players themselves.
On a scale a little closer to home, this has been evident in the Women’s FA Cup, which has experienced great success being broadcast across major sporting channels. The upcoming Semis will be covered live on BBC One and Two, with the latter showing what is set to be a blockbuster London derby between reigning champions Chelsea, and Arsenal who sit just behind them in 2nd in the Super League. For fans hoping to watch the action unfold live, tickets start at a very modest £8 for adults and £4 for U16s. The pricing of women’s football tickets is often up for debate within the sporting community; how can we claim to be progressing towards equality with such clear disparity between matchday incomes. However, it must be recognized that low priced tickets create an important precedent of accessibility to the women’s game. Reasonable pricing encourages increased spectator numbers which is surely at the forefront of gaining popularity and a loyal fan base. Additionally, with many Super League fixtures across this season being played at higher capacity venues like the King Power Stadium, it creates an affordable option for spectators who would otherwise not experience this caliber of stadium. This is excellently mirrored at Camp Nou. Whilst prices for the Men’s games can top €200, the €9 tickets for Barcelona Women’s fixtures increases accessibility to a world class venue, whilst also promoting increased support for the side.
With the Euro’s this summer taking place across some of the UKs finest football stadiums, they have the potential to showcase Women’s football to a whole new faction of fans. With justly ticket prices, accessibility to a high quality, international standard of football has never been greater. The tournament will no doubt be a great success, sustaining the continued momentum of support for the sport.