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USWNT average attendance declines 22% in 2018

Photo credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With average attendances for US Men’s National Team games down 17% in 2018, it’s even worse news for the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) as their attendances dropped 22% in a horrible year for the US Soccer Federation.

On the field, the USWNT had a remarkable year, posting a record of 18-0-2 and qualifying for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France where they are drawn with Thailand, Chile, and Sweden in the Group Stage. While the last several years have seen several fantastic crowds for the women’s national team, particularly in 2015 when they not only had the hype before the Women’s World Cup but also the Victory Tour after winning it, 2018 saw a dramatic attendance decline for the women.

It should be noted as journalist Jonathan Tannenwald pointed out that “U.S. Soccer did not run ticket sales for the women’s World Cup qualifying tournament. Concacaf did, and they are notorious for not marketing the event locally in cities where they put games.”

Here are the attendance figures for the USWNT in 2018:

1/21/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Denmark – SDCCU Stadium – 17,526
3/1/18 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. Germany – Mapfre Stadium – 14,591
3/4/18 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. France – Red Bull Arena – 25,706
3/7/18 – She Believes Cup – USA vs. England – Orlando City Stadium – 12,351
4/5/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Mexico – TIAA Bank Field – 14,360
4/8/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Mexico – BBVA Compass Stadium – 15,349
6/7/18 – Friendly – USA vs. China – Rio Tinto Stadium – 13,230
6/12/18 – Friendly – USA vs. China – First Energy Stadium – 12,335
7/26/18 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Japan – Children’s Mercy Park – 18,467
7/29/18 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Australia – Pratt & Whitney Stadium – 21,570
8/2/18 – Tournament of Nations – USA vs. Brazil – Toyota Park – 18,309
8/31/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Chile – StubHub Center – 23,544
9/4/18 – Friendly – USA vs. Chile – Avaya Stadium – 14,340
10/4/18 – Women’s World Cup qualifier – USA vs. Mexico – WakeMed Soccer Park – 5,404
10/7/18 – WWCQ – USA vs. Panama – WakeMed Soccer Park – 7,532
10/10/18 – WWCQ – USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago – WakeMed Soccer Park – 3,996
10/14/18 – WWCQ – USA vs. Jamaica – Toyota Stadium – 7,555
10/17/18 – WWCQ – USA vs. Canada – Toyota Stadium – 6,986

• Total Attendance: 253,151
• Average Attendance: 14,064

The 14,064 per game average is a drop of 22% from 2017 when they averaged 18,150 per game (and it’s a 49% drop from the 27,766 in 2015). It was also the lowest average attendance since 2014 when they averaged 10,791 per game. It’s quite baffling that every single Women’s World Cup Qualifying game drew under 10,000 fans. That’s five games of under 10,000 this year compared to just four games of under 10,000 in the last three years combined.

It’s worth noting that this was a pre-Women’s World Cup year and it did well compared to other such years: 14,064 in 2018, 10,791 in 2014, 5,784 in 2010, and 5,578 in 2006. And while again attendance is down, there are plenty of reason to expect it to jump tremendously next year with the Women’s World Cup getting fans excited.

US Soccer has already released the schedule for the WNT all the way through the start of the Women’s World Cup and the home venues are: Philadelphia, Nashville, Tampa, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, and New York. Expectations are that every soccer-specific stadium will sell out and every larger stadium will have at least 20,000 people inside. If that holds true, 2019 could be a very good year in the stadiums for the USWNT.

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  1. SilverRey

    December 13, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    After literally years of meaningless games in front of huge crowds, the most important games in the cycle are played in an 10k stadium?

    I’m glad that Cary, NC got some attention, but this was a huge disservice to women’s soccer. These games really should have been in larger venues – this was WC qualifiers!!!

  2. Monte

    December 13, 2018 at 10:43 am

    As a Texan, I do not understand why more people do not attend matches at Toyota Stadium in Frisco. I have been to a few FC Dallas matches over the years but it is a long long drive for me plus I’m frustrated with MLS so I do not support them any more. But FC Dallas is always one of the lowest teams in attendance even though they normally have a really good MLS team. Several years ago I went to USWNT friendly match in San Antonio at the terrible Alamo Dome and they had over 20,000 at that match. But Frisco is a growing area, near Dallas, and club youth soccer is growing like crazy in that area but they do not support teams playing in their own stadium. I think they would be better off moving FC Dallas and any future USWNT matches to Jerry’s World in Arlington.

    • Lawrence Dockery

      December 13, 2018 at 10:52 am

      I think part of the reason the WWCQ in Dallas (and in Cary for that matter) were so poorly attended is that there were multiple opportunities to go see the team play. Whereas you might get a sellout if the game is a one off, it’s less likely if there’s multiple games in the span of a few days.

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