National Women's Soccer League attendance

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The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is the top-tier professional women's soccer league in the United States and Canada. Founded in 2013, the 2018 season saw an average 6,024 spectators among the 9 teams, the highest average attendance in league history. Its overall attendance in 2018 was also its highest ever, with 650,564 total. The NWSL has the second-highest average attendance per game among all women's professional sports leagues in the United States, behind the WNBA.

NWSL attendance has grown since the league's inaugural season in 2013. The per-game average attendance of 6,024 in 2018 was a 41% increase over the 4,270 average in 2013, a growth rate of 7.1% per year, and the total attendance of 650,564 in 2018 was a 73% increase over the 375,763 total in 2013, a growth rate of 11.6% per year.

Fans celebrating after a goal in Portland, Oregon.
The Portland Thorns' average regular-season attendance in 2018 was 16,959 fans.

2017 season[edit]

The following is a list of the average per-game regular-season attendance for each of the 10 teams that played in the 2017 season. It includes the team, the average attendances for the 2017 and 2016 regular seasons, the percentage change in attendance from season-to-season, the home venue, the home venue's capacity, and the percent of capacity that the average attendance represents.

The Boston Breakers and FC Kansas City, which folded after the 2017 season, are highlighted in red. The Kansas City team was effectively replaced by the newly launched Utah Royals FC for 2018.

Team 2017
Attendance
2016
Attendance
Change Stadium Capacity
(Unrestricted)
Percent
(2017)
Boston Breakers 2,896 3,570 -18.9% Jordan Field 4,000 72.4%
Chicago Red Stars 3,198 3,005 +6.4% Toyota Park 20,000 16.0%
FC Kansas City 1,788 3,162 -43.5% Swope Soccer Village 3,557 50.3%
Houston Dash 4,578 5,696 -19.6% BBVA Compass Stadium 7,000
(22,039)
65.4%
(20.8%)
North Carolina Courage 4,389 -* WakeMed Soccer Park 10,000 43.9%
Orlando Pride 6,186 8,785 -29.6% Orlando City Stadium 25,500 24.3%
Portland Thorns FC 17,653 16,945 +4.2% Providence Park 21,144 83.5%
Seattle Reign FC 4,037 4,602 -12.3% Memorial Stadium 6,000
(12,000)
67.3%
(33.6%)
Sky Blue FC 2,613 2,162 +20.9% Yurcak Field 5,000 52.3%
Washington Spirit 3,491 3,782 -7.7% Maryland SoccerPlex 4,000 87.3%
Notes

* The Courage's previous incarnation, the Western New York Flash, averaged 3,868 in 2016 under different ownership in Rochester, New York; the franchise relocation thus realized a 13.5% increase in average attendance for this year.

Season averages[edit]

Season Total Gate Games Average Change High avg. Team Low avg. Team Ref
2013 375,763 88 4,270 13,320 Portland Thorns FC 1,664 Sky Blue FC [1]
2014 446,820 108 4,137 –3.1% 13,362 Portland Thorns FC 1,640 Sky Blue FC [2]
2015 454,100 90 5,046 +21.9% 15,639 Portland Thorns FC 2,189 Sky Blue FC [3]
2016 555,775 100 5,558 +10.1% 16,945 Portland Thorns FC 2,162 Sky Blue FC [4]
2017 609,960 120 5,083 -8.5% 17,653 Portland Thorns FC 1,788 FC Kansas City [5]
2018 650,564 108 6,024 +18.5% 16,959 Portland Thorns FC 2,531 Sky Blue FC [6]

Notes:

  • Green shading indicates record highs; red shading indicates record lows.

By team[edit]

Season BOS CHI KC HOU NC NJ ORL POR SEA UTA WAS WNY
2013[7] 2,427 1,711 4,626 -- -- 1,666 -- 13,320 2,306 -- 3,625 4,485
2014[8] 2,437 2,949 2,018 4,650 -- 1,656 -- 13,362 3,666 -- 3,335 3,177
2015[9] 2,863 4,210 3,091 6,413 -- 2,189 -- 15,639 4,060 -- 4,087 2,860
2016[10] 3,570 3,005 3,162 5,696 -- 2,162 8,785 16,945 4,602 -- 3,782 3,868
2017[11] 2,896 3,196 1,788 4,578 4,389 2,613 6,186 17,653 4,037 -- 3,491 --
2018[12] -- 4,368 -- 3,896 5,129 2,531 4,837 16,959 3,824 9,466 3,892 --

NWSL attendance vs. other leagues[edit]

vs. other North American women's professional leagues[edit]

The following table compares the NWSL regular season average attendance against the regular season average attendance for other professional women's sports leagues in North America.

League Year Started Sport # Teams Season Average
attendance
Average vs.
prior season
Total
Attendance
Ref
Women's National Basketball Association 1996 Basketball 12 2017 7,716 +0.8% 1,574,078 [13]
National Women's Soccer League 2013 Soccer 9 2018 6,024 +18.5% 650,564 [6]
National Pro Fastpitch 2004 Fastpitch 5 2015 1,128 +26% ~135,360 [14]
National Women's Hockey League 2015 Ice hockey 4 2016–17 900 [15]

Notes: Italics indicate statistics for the previous season; NPF had 6 teams for its 2016 & 2017 seasons, though attendance numbers for those are not available.

vs. other North American professional soccer leagues[edit]

The following table compares the NWSL regular season average attendance against the regular season average attendance for other professional soccer leagues in North America.

League Year Started Division # Teams Season Average
attendance
Average vs.
prior season
Total
Attendance
Ref
Major League Soccer 1996 Men's DI 20 2016 22,124 +2.0% 8,274,266 [16]
National Women's Soccer League 2013 Women's DI 9 2018 6,024 +18.5% 650,564 [6]
North American Soccer League 2011 Men's DII 8 2017 4,734 −5.4% 550,826 [17]
United Soccer League 2011 Men's DII 30 2017 4,294 +24.9% 2,061,159 [18]

vs. other worldwide women's top-division soccer leagues[edit]

The following table compares the NWSL regular season average attendance against the regular season average attendance for a selection other top-flight soccer leagues from around the world; this list is not exhaustive.

League Year Started Nation # Teams Season Average
attendance
Average vs.
prior season
Total
Attendance
Ref
National Women's Soccer League 2013 United States 9 2018 6,024 +18.5% 650,564 [6]
Liga MX Femenil 2017 Mexico 16 2017 Apertura 2,743 NA ~307,200 [19]
W-League 2008 Australia 9 2017–18 2,139 116,290 [20]
FA WSL 1 2011 England 9 2016 1,128 +4.8% ~72,200 [21]
Frauen-Bundesliga 1990 Germany 12 2016–17 835 −22.4% 110,642 [22]

Individual game highest attendance[edit]

Regular season, overall[edit]

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Date Source
1 Orlando Pride 3–1 Houston Dash 23,403 April 23, 2016 (2016-04-23) [23]
2 Portland Thorns FC 0–1 Seattle Reign FC 21,144 July 22, 2015 (2015-07-22) [24]
2 Portland Thorns FC 3–3 Washington Spirit 21,144 August 30, 2015 (2015-08-30) [25]
2 Portland Thorns FC 3–2 Western New York Flash 21,144 September 11, 2016 (2016-09-11) [26]
2 Portland Thorns FC 3–1 Chicago Red Stars 21,144 September 30, 2017 (2017-09-30) [27]
6 Portland Thorns FC 3-1 Seattle Reign FC 21,144 September 7, 2018 34
7 Portland Thorns FC 2–0 Houston Dash 19,672 August 19, 2017 (2017-08-19) [28]
8 Portland Thorns FC 1–0 Seattle Reign FC 19,231 July 30, 2016 (2016-07-30) [29]
9 Utah Royals FC 0–1 Chicago Red Stars 19,203 April 18, 2018 (2018-04-18) [30]
10 Portland Thorns FC 1–0 Houston Dash 19,123 August 3, 2014 (2014-08-03) [31]

NWSL Championship playoffs[edit]

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Venue Date Stage Source
1 North Carolina Courage* 3–0 Portland Thorns FC 21,144 Providence Park September 22, 2018 (2018-09-22) Final [32]
2 Portland Thorns FC 3–4 Western New York Flash 20,086 Providence Park October 2, 2016 (2016-10-02) Semifinal [33]
3 Portland Thorns FC 4–1 Orlando Pride 18,193 Providence Park October 7, 2017 (2017-10-07) Semifinal [34]
4 Portland Thorns FC 2–1 Seattle Reign FC 14,179 Providence Park September 15, 2018 (2018-09-15) Semifinal [35]
5 FC Kansas City* 1–0 Seattle Reign FC 13,264 Providence Park October 1, 2015 (2015-10-01) Final [36]
6 Western New York Flash 1–2 Portland Thorns FC 9,129 Sahlen's Stadium August 31, 2013 (2013-08-31) Final [37]

Note: boldface indicates winner; * indicates "home" team in predetermined venue for championship final

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Taking Attendance 8/18/2013: Final NWSL Attendance Numbers". Kenn.com. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  2. ^ Gerhke, Sarah (September 30, 2014). "NWSL: Breaking down 2014 attendance numbers, part I". Soccerwire. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  3. ^ Goldberg, Jamie (September 11, 2015). "National Women's Soccer League sees record attendance numbers in third season". The Oregonian. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  4. ^ Goldberg, Jamie (November 16, 2016). "National Women's Soccer League once again saw rising attendance numbers in 2016". The Oregonian. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  5. ^ "2017 NWSL Attendance". Soccer Stadium Digest. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "2018 NWSL Attendance". Soccer Stadium Digest. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  7. ^ "2013 NWSL Statistics". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  8. ^ "2014 NWSL Statistics". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  9. ^ "2015 NWSL Statistics". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  10. ^ "2016 NWSL Statistics". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  11. ^ "2017 NWSL Attendance". Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  12. ^ "2018 NWSL Attendance". Soccer Stadium Digest. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  13. ^ "WNBA Scores Highest Attendance In Six Years During Record-Breaking Season". Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  14. ^ "A Look Back At The NPF Year 2015". NPF. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  15. ^ "Will Female Pro-Hockey Players Ever Get What They're Worth?". Yahoo. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  16. ^ "USA » Major League Soccer 2017 » Attendance » Home matches". Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  17. ^ "NASL Down 5%, But It's Complicated". October 29, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  18. ^ "USL Draws 2 Million, Average Up 25%". October 15, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  19. ^ https://twitter.com/GlennMoore7/status/946716772077629440
  20. ^ "De Vanna dramatics send Sydney to Grand Final for showdown with Melbourne City". February 12, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  21. ^ "Year-on-year growth in Women's Super League attendances". November 7, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  22. ^ de:Fußball-Bundesliga 2016/17 (Frauen)
  23. ^ Rosenblatt, Ryan (April 23, 2016). "Orlando Pride set NWSL attendance record in first ever home match". Fox Sports. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  24. ^ "Seattle Reign beat Portland Thorns in front of record NWSL crowd". Sports Illustrated. July 23, 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  25. ^ Blue, Molly (August 30, 2015). "Portland Thorns draw 3–3 with Washington Spirit in final home game of the season". The Oregonian. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  26. ^ "Portland Thorns FC 3, Western New York Flash 2". SB Nation. September 11, 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  27. ^ "NWSL Match Recap: Portland Thorns FC 3, Chicago Red Stars 1". Portland Thorns FC. September 30, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  28. ^ "Horan, Henry score as Thorns top Dash 2–0". 20 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  29. ^ Goldberg, Jamie (July 30, 2016). "Final: Portland Thorns 1, Seattle Reign 0: Live chat recap". The Oregonian. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  30. ^ Purdy, Jacqueline (April 18, 2018). "Colaprico, Red Stars spoil Utah's home opener". NWSLsoccer.com. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  31. ^ Goldberg, Jamie (August 4, 2014). "Portland Thorns set NWSL attendance record". The Oregonian. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  32. ^ "Courage cap off record-setting season with NWSL Championship win". National Women's Soccer League. October 8, 2016. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  33. ^ "Flash beat Thorns FC, 4–3, in extra time". National Women's Soccer League. October 2, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  34. ^ "NWSL Playoffs Match Recap: Portland Thorns FC 4, Orlando Pride 1". Portland Thorns FC. October 7, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  35. ^ "Thorns advance to NWSL Championship with 2-1 win over Reign". National Women's Soccer League. September 15, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  36. ^ Goldberg, Jamie (October 1, 2015). "FC Kansas City wins second consecutive National Women's Soccer League championship title". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  37. ^ Hays, Graham (September 8, 2013). "Portland blazes trail with NWSL title". ESPN. Retrieved November 28, 2016.

External links[edit]