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 18||Friendly||Colombia||Exploria Stadium||Orlando, FL||2,042|
|January 22||Friendly||Colombia||Exploria Stadium||Orlando, FL||3,202|
|February 18||She Believes Cup||Canada||Exploria Stadium||Orlando, FL||3,104|
|February 21||She Believes Cup||Brazil||Exploria Stadium||Orlando, FL||4,000|
|February 24||She Believes Cup||Argentina||Exploria Stadium||Orlando, FL||3,702|
|June 10||Friendly||Portugal||BBVA Stadium||Houston, TX||9,951|
|June 13||Friendly||Jamaica||BBVA Stadium||Houston, TX||8,737|
|June 16||Friendly||Nigeria||Q2 Stadium||Austin, TX||20,500|
|July 1||Friendly||Mexico||Pratt and Whitney Stadium||East Hartford, CT||21,637|
|July 5||Friendly||Mexico||Pratt and Whitney Stadium||East Hartford, CT||27,758|
|September 16||Friendly||Paraguay||FirstEnergy Stadium||Cleveland, OH||14,117|
|September 21||Friendly||Paraguay||TQL Stadium||Cincinnati, OH||22,515|
|October 21||Friendly||South Korea||Children’s Mercy Park||Kansas City, KS||18,467|
|October 26||Friendly||South Korea||Allianz Field||Saint Paul, MN||18,115|
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.
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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