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USWNT attendance in 2021 dips due to COVID, lack of success

Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

This year brought many things to celebrate for the US Men’s National Team. The same cannot be said for the US Women’s National Team.

On one hand, the men’s side pulled in its highest audience in recent years while lifting the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup. Contrarily, the USWNT failed to even reach the gold medal game at the Olympics for the second consecutive Games. Additionally, the attendance at home left much to be desired.

Some of the factors that led to the poor attendance were outside of their control. For example, repeated use of the same venues took away some of the grandeur. Similarly, COVID-19 restrictions on capacity limited attendance numbers, especially early in the year.

However, failing to win the gold medal in Tokyo prevented the USWNT from being going on a long victory tour. That is something they did after lifting the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and 2019.

Here’s how the USWNT attendance in 2021 panned out.

USWNT attendance in 2021

January 18FriendlyColombiaExploria StadiumOrlando, FL2,042
January 22FriendlyColombiaExploria StadiumOrlando, FL3,202
February 18She Believes CupCanadaExploria StadiumOrlando, FL3,104
February 21She Believes CupBrazilExploria StadiumOrlando, FL4,000
February 24She Believes CupArgentinaExploria StadiumOrlando, FL3,702
June 10FriendlyPortugalBBVA StadiumHouston, TX9,951
June 13FriendlyJamaicaBBVA StadiumHouston, TX8,737
June 16FriendlyNigeriaQ2 StadiumAustin, TX20,500
July 1FriendlyMexicoPratt and Whitney StadiumEast Hartford, CT21,637
July 5FriendlyMexicoPratt and Whitney StadiumEast Hartford, CT27,758
September 16FriendlyParaguayFirstEnergy StadiumCleveland, OH14,117
September 21FriendlyParaguayTQL StadiumCincinnati, OH22,515
October 21FriendlySouth KoreaChildren’s Mercy ParkKansas City, KS18,467
October 26FriendlySouth KoreaAllianz FieldSaint Paul, MN18,115
TOTAL: 177,847
AVERAGE: 12,703

The 14-game average of 12,703 for the USWNT in 2021 marks their lowest average attendance since 2014 when they drew 10,791 through 15 games. That average represents a 13% drop from 2020 when the four-time World Cup Winners averaged 14,559. The USWNT attendance in 2020 benefitted from eight home games prior to COVID shutdowns. Moreover, the USWNT attendance in 2021 shows a drop of an eye-popping 49% from 2019. That year, the World Cup Winners pulled 25,122 per game. That was also the last year with a full slate of home games.

Standout numbers

One of the biggest things that stands out is first seven games of the year all drawing fewer than 10,000 fans per game. The reason is probably two-fold. First, similar to the Gold Cup group stage for the MNT this year, multiple games being played in the same stadium over the course of a few days is usually going to hurt the attendance for several of those games. Furthermore, games that were played in January and February were still subject to COVID capacity restrictions. And, as mentioned earlier, the lack of a gold medal victory tour in the late summer and early fall caused US Soccer to miss out on

Despite the overall depressing tone of the attendance for the USWNT this year, there were still one or two bright spots. Selling out the brand new Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas was certainly a positive as was drawing a large crowd for the first international game at the brand new TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. With qualification for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia set to take place in July of 2022, hopes are high that bigger crowds will come back to see the USWNT play in meaningful matches.

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  1. greg

    January 2, 2022 at 10:39 am

    Not getting some of the points made here…repeated use of stadiums outside of the She Believes Cup (which I think was closed bubble, one location, COVID-limited) only happened twice – the matches in Houston had a dip 1st to 2nd match but it was part of a 4-team friendly Olympic warm-up, two doubleheaders…US, Jamaica, Portugal, Nigeria.

    The two East Hartford matches, send-offs for the Olympics, had an increase in attendance from 1st to 2nd match.

    In summer they did ok, considering the men were in two major competitions and the Euros were going on. Plus people were back out doing summer travel after all the COVID hunkering down.

    Take out the She Believes numbers since they were artificially depressed due to COVID restrictions and they had 161,797 total for an average of 17,977.

    No issues with popularity, no negative Rapinoe effect, it’s fine.

  2. jason

    January 2, 2022 at 9:19 am

    The only women’s sport I would attend in person is women’s beach volleyball. Maybe water polo too. But I’ll pay more attention to the women when they are out of the pool

  3. rkujay

    January 2, 2022 at 5:27 am

    Right. It couldn’t possibly, maybe, perhaps be due to megan’s politics, now could it…

  4. Emily Hutaro

    January 2, 2022 at 1:23 am

    To me some of those attendance numbers after June are honestly pretty good. I honestly had no idea they were drawing numbers in the upwards of 15-20k. I’m personally not a fan of woman soccer due to the unbearably slow pace, sloppy play, and nasty personalities, but to each their own.

  5. Matt Dunsworth

    January 2, 2022 at 12:02 am

    The womens team has won 4 World Cups and 4 Gold medals, what has the men’s team won, ……….. .nothing . They have been ranked #1 or #2 in the world since 1990 . It was a joke the men’s team did not qualify for the last World Cup. Our region is the weakest region to qualify. The women probably have won 90 % of all the games they have ever played. I don’t even think the men have won 60 % . Our womens team is dominant and our mens team is above average.

  6. Darth Bill

    December 28, 2021 at 9:53 am

    I watch the women’s game almost exclusively. The reasons why are demonstrated above.

  7. Yespage

    December 28, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Of course, one could also note the Women won the World Cup while the Men’s team failed to make the Final.

    No, the women’s game does not draw the same amount of revenue (and this is a major source of the disparity), but the relative success of the men’s and women’s teams is a bit uneven. And the spite against the Women’s team complaining about training grounds and what not seems extremely misplaced.

  8. US Whinning National Team

    December 28, 2021 at 12:20 am

    Good that is happening to them. It is laughable that the USWNT think winning the WWC is the same as winni ng the Men’s Football World Cup. What a bunch of naivete or simply mafiosas trying to get advantage of the situation. USWNT, good riddance and go back to Pre -1990 when no one knew you all even nv existed .

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