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 2019 season saw an average 7,337 spectators among the 9 teams, the highest average attendance in league history. Its overall attendance in 2019 was also its highest ever, with 792,409 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 7,337 in 2019 was a 21.8% increase over the previous record of 6,024 set in 2018. The 2019 average was a 71.8% increase over the 4,270 average in the league's inaugural 2013 season, a growth rate of 9.4% per year. The total attendance in 2019 was a 111% increase over the 375,763 total in 2013, a growth rate of 13.2% per year.

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

2019 season[edit]

The following is a list of the average per-game regular-season attendance for each of the 9 teams that played in the 2019 season. It includes the team, the average attendances for the 2019 and 2018 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. Capacities listed are accurate for the 2019 season. Percentages are adjusted to reflect any home games played at venues other than the team's normal home.

Team 2019
Attendance
2018
Attendance
Change Stadium Capacity
(Unrestricted)
Percent
(2019)
Chicago Red Stars 5,451 4,368 +24.8% SeatGeek Stadium 20,000 27.3%
Houston Dash 3,615 3,896 −7.2% BBVA Stadium 7,000
(22,039)
51.6%
(16.4%)
North Carolina Courage 5,875 5,129 +14.5% WakeMed Soccer Park 10,000 58.8%
Orlando Pride 5,565 4,837 +15.1% Exploria Stadium 25,500 21.8%
Portland Thorns FC 20,098 16,959 +18.5% Providence Park 25,218[a] 79.3%
Reign FC[b] 5,213 3,824 +36.3% Cheney Stadium[c] 6,500 80.2%
Sky Blue FC 3,338 2,531 +31.9% Yurcak Field 5,000 26.7%[d]
Utah Royals FC 10,774 9,466 +13.8% Rio Tinto Stadium 20,213 53.3%
Washington Spirit 6,105 3,892 +56.9% Maryland SoccerPlex 4,000 61.1%[e]
Notes
  1. ^ Expanded from 21,144 after the 2018 season.
  2. ^ Rebranded from Seattle Reign FC after the 2018 season.
  3. ^ Moved from Memorial Stadium in Seattle, with a full capacity of 12,000 but with only 6,000 tickets sold for Reign matches, after the 2018 season. The team will move into a new soccer-specific stadium in Tacoma in 2021.
  4. ^ Percentage reflects two matches played at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey (capacity 25,000).
  5. ^ Percentage reflects two matches played at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. (capacity 20,000).

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]
2019 792,409 108 7,337 +21.8% 20,098 Portland Thorns FC 3,338 Sky Blue FC [7]

Notes:

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

By team[edit]

Season BOS CHI KC HOU NC NJ ORL POR RFC UTA WAS WNY
2013[8] 2,427 1,711 4,626 -- -- 1,666 -- 13,320 2,306 -- 3,625 4,485
2014[9] 2,437 2,949 2,018 4,650 -- 1,656 -- 13,362 3,666 -- 3,335 3,177
2015[10] 2,863 4,210 3,091 6,413 -- 2,189 -- 15,639 4,060 -- 4,087 2,860
2016[11] 3,570 3,005 3,162 5,696 -- 2,162 8,785 16,945 4,602 -- 3,782 3,868
2017[12] 2,896 3,196 1,788 4,578 4,389 2,613 6,186 17,653 4,037 -- 3,491 --
2018[13] 4,368 3,896 5,129 2,531 4,837 16,959 3,824 9,466 3,892
2019[7] 5,451 3,615 5,875 3,338 5,565 20,098 5,213 10,774 6,105

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 [14]
National Women's Soccer League 2013 Soccer 9 2019 7,337 +21.8% 792,409 [7]
National Pro Fastpitch 2004 Fastpitch 5 2015 1,128 +26% ~135,360 [15]
National Women's Hockey League 2015 Ice hockey 4 2016–17 900 [16]

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 24[a] 2019 21,305 −2.6% 8,694,584 [17]
National Women's Soccer League 2013 Women's DI 9 2019 7,337 +21.8% 792,409 [7]
North American Soccer League[b] 2011 Men's DII 8 2017 4,734 −5.4% 550,826 [18]
USL Championship[c] 2011 Men's DII 33[d] 2018 4,916 +14.3% 2,757,833 [19]
  1. ^ MLS will have 26 teams in 2020, 27 in 2021, and at least 28 in 2022.
  2. ^ The NASL, embroiled in a legal dispute with U.S. Soccer, has not played since the 2017 season.
  3. ^ Known as the United Soccer League before the 2019 season.
  4. ^ The USLC has 36 teams in the 2019 season.

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 2019 7,337 +21.8% 792,409 [7]
Liga MX Femenil 2017 Mexico 16 2017 Apertura 2,743 NA ~307,200 [20]
W-League 2008 Australia 9 2017–18 2,139 116,290 [21]
FA WSL 1 2011 England 9 2016 1,128 +4.8% ~72,200 [22]
Frauen-Bundesliga 1990 Germany 12 2016–17 835 −22.4% 110,642 [23]

Individual game highest attendance[edit]

Regular season, overall[edit]

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Venue Location Date Source
1 Portland Thorns FC 2–1 North Carolina Courage 25,218* Providence Park Portland, OR August 11, 2019 (2019-08-11) [24]
2 Portland Thorns FC 0–0 Washington Spirit 24,521 Providence Park Portland, OR October 12, 2019 (2019-10-12) [25]
3 Orlando Pride 3–1 Houston Dash 23,403 Camping World Stadium Orlando, FL April 23, 2016 (2016-04-23) [26][27]
4 Portland Thorns FC 5-0 Houston Dash 22,329 Providence Park Portland, OR July 24, 2019 (2019-07-24) [28]
5 Portland Thorns FC 0–1 Seattle Reign FC 21,144* Providence Park Portland, OR July 22, 2015 (2015-07-22) [29]
Portland Thorns FC 3–3 Washington Spirit 21,144* Providence Park Portland, OR August 30, 2015 (2015-08-30) [30]
Portland Thorns FC 3–2 Western New York Flash 21,144* Providence Park Portland, OR September 11, 2016 (2016-09-11) [31]
Portland Thorns FC 3–1 Chicago Red Stars 21,144* Providence Park Portland, OR September 30, 2017 (2017-09-30) [32]
Portland Thorns FC 3–1 Seattle Reign FC 21,144* Providence Park Portland, OR September 7, 2018 [33]
10 Portland Thorns FC 1-0 Houston Dash 21,022 Providence Park Portland, OR September 21, 2019 (2019-09-21) [34]

* Sellout

NWSL Championship playoffs[edit]

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Venue Date Stage Source
1 Portland Thorns FC* 0–3 North Carolina Courage 21,144 Providence Park September 22, 2018 (2018-09-22) Final [35]
2 Portland Thorns FC 3–4 Western New York Flash 20,086 Providence Park October 2, 2016 (2016-10-02) Semifinal [36]
3 Portland Thorns FC 4–1 Orlando Pride 18,193 Providence Park October 7, 2017 (2017-10-07) Semifinal [37]
4 Portland Thorns FC 2–1 Seattle Reign FC 14,179 Providence Park September 15, 2018 (2018-09-15) Semifinal [38]
5 FC Kansas City* 1–0 Seattle Reign FC 13,264 Providence Park October 1, 2015 (2015-10-01) Final [39]
6 North Carolina Courage 1–0 Chicago Red Stars 10,017 WakeMed Soccer Park October 8, 2017 (2017-10-08) Semifinal [40]
7 Western New York Flash 0–2 Portland Thorns FC 9,129 Sahlen's Stadium August 31, 2013 (2013-08-31) Final [41]
8 Washington Spirit 2 (2) – 2 (3) Western New York Flash 8,255 BBVA Stadium October 9, 2016 (2016-10-09) Final [42]
9 North Carolina Courage 0–1 Portland Thorns FC 8,124 WakeMed Soccer Park October 14, 2017 (2017-10-14) Final [43]
10 Western New York Flash 2–0 Sky Blue FC 7,316 Sahlen's Stadium August 24, 2013 (2013-08-24) Semifinal [44]

Note: * 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 October 8, 2017.
  6. ^ "2018 NWSL Attendance". Soccer Stadium Digest. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e "2019 NWSL Attendance". Soccer Stadium Digest. October 12, 2019. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  8. ^ "2013 NWSL Statistics". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  9. ^ "2014 NWSL Statistics". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  10. ^ "2015 NWSL Statistics". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  11. ^ "2016 NWSL Statistics". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  12. ^ "2017 NWSL Attendance". Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  13. ^ "2018 NWSL Attendance". Soccer Stadium Digest. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  14. ^ "WNBA Scores Highest Attendance In Six Years During Record-Breaking Season". Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  15. ^ "A Look Back At The NPF Year 2015". NPF. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  16. ^ "Will Female Pro-Hockey Players Ever Get What They're Worth?". Yahoo. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  17. ^ "2019 MLS Attendance". Soccer Stadium Digest. October 6, 2019. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  18. ^ "NASL Down 5%, But It's Complicated". October 29, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "2018 USL Attendance". Soccer Stadium Digest. October 15, 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  20. ^ https://twitter.com/GlennMoore7/status/946716772077629440
  21. ^ "De Vanna dramatics send Sydney to Grand Final for showdown with Melbourne City". February 12, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  22. ^ "Year-on-year growth in Women's Super League attendances". November 7, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  23. ^ de:Fußball-Bundesliga 2016/17 (Frauen)
  24. ^ Goldberg, Jamie (August 11, 2019). "Portland Thorns fight back to earn massive 2-1 win over North Carolina Courage in front of record-setting crowd". The Oregonian. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  25. ^ Levine, Matthew (October 12, 2019). "Portland Thorns FC and Washington Spirit play to a 0-0 draw". National Women's Soccer League. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  26. ^ Rosenblatt, Ryan (April 23, 2016). "Orlando Pride set NWSL attendance record in first ever home match". Fox Sports. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  27. ^ Stejskal, Sam (April 25, 2016). "Orlando Pride set new NWSL attendance record in inaugural home match". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  28. ^ Goldberg, Jamie (July 24, 2019). "Portland Thorns rout Houston Dash 5-0 as U.S. Women's National Team players make return to Providence Park". Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  29. ^ "Seattle Reign beat Portland Thorns in front of record NWSL crowd". Sports Illustrated. July 23, 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ "Portland Thorns FC 3, Western New York Flash 2". SB Nation. September 11, 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  32. ^ "NWSL Match Recap: Portland Thorns FC 3, Chicago Red Stars 1". Portland Thorns FC. September 30, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  33. ^ "NWSL Match Recap: Portland Thorns FC 3, Seattle Reign FC 1". September 7, 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  34. ^ "Portland Thorns clinch playoff berth with 1-0 win over Houston Dash". September 21, 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  35. ^ "Courage cap off record-setting season with NWSL Championship win". National Women's Soccer League. October 8, 2016. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  36. ^ "Flash beat Thorns FC, 4–3, in extra time". National Women's Soccer League. October 2, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  37. ^ "NWSL Playoffs Match Recap: Portland Thorns FC 4, Orlando Pride 1". Portland Thorns FC. October 7, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  38. ^ "Thorns advance to NWSL Championship with 2-1 win over Reign". National Women's Soccer League. September 15, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  39. ^ Goldberg, Jamie (October 1, 2015). "FC Kansas City wins second consecutive National Women's Soccer League championship title". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  40. ^ "Courage 1, Red Stars 0 (2017 Semifinal)". October 8, 2017. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  41. ^ Hays, Graham (September 8, 2013). "Portland blazes trail with NWSL title". ESPN. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  42. ^ "Flash win 2016 Final on penalties". October 9, 2016. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  43. ^ "Thorns 1, Courage 0". October 14, 2017. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  44. ^ "Flash 2, Sky Blue 0". August 24, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2019.

External links[edit]