National Women's Soccer League attendance

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 highest average attendance per game among all women's professional sports leagues in the United States.

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.

2019 season

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.

Team2019
Attendance
2018
Attendance
ChangeStadiumCapacity
(Unrestricted)
Percent
(2019)
Chicago Red Stars5,4514,368+24.8%SeatGeek Stadium20,00027.3%
Houston Dash3,6153,896−7.2%BBVA Stadium7,000
(22,039)
51.6%
(16.4%)
North Carolina Courage5,8755,129+14.5%WakeMed Soccer Park10,00058.8%
Orlando Pride5,5654,837+15.1%Exploria Stadium25,50021.8%
Portland Thorns FC20,09816,959+18.5%Providence Park25,218[lower-alpha 1]79.3%
Reign FC[lower-alpha 2]5,2133,824+36.3%Cheney Stadium[lower-alpha 3]6,50080.2%
Sky Blue FC3,3382,531+31.9%Yurcak Field5,00026.7%[lower-alpha 4]
Utah Royals FC10,7749,466+13.8%Rio Tinto Stadium20,21353.3%
Washington Spirit6,1053,892+56.9%Maryland SoccerPlex4,00061.1%[lower-alpha 5]
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

SeasonTotal GateGamesAverageChangeHigh avg.TeamLow avg.TeamRef
2013375,763884,27013,320Portland Thorns FC1,664Sky Blue FC[1]
2014446,8201084,137–3.1%13,362Portland Thorns FC1,640Sky Blue FC[2]
2015454,100905,046+21.9%15,639Portland Thorns FC2,189Sky Blue FC[3]
2016555,7751005,558+10.1%16,945Portland Thorns FC2,162Sky Blue FC[4]
2017609,9601205,083-8.5%17,653Portland Thorns FC1,788FC Kansas City[5]
2018650,5641086,024+18.5%16,959Portland Thorns FC2,531Sky Blue FC[6]
2019792,4091087,337+21.8%20,098Portland Thorns FC3,338Sky Blue FC[7]

Notes:

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

By team

SeasonBOSCHIKCHOUNCNJORLPORRFCUTAWASWNY
2013[8]2,4271,7114,626----1,666--13,3202,306--3,6254,485
2014[9]2,4372,9492,0184,650--1,656--13,3623,666--3,3353,177
2015[10]2,8634,2103,0916,413--2,189--15,6394,060--4,0872,860
2016[11]3,5703,0053,1625,696--2,1628,78516,9454,602--3,7823,868
2017[12]2,8963,1961,7884,5784,3892,6136,18617,6534,037--3,491--
2018[13]4,3683,8965,1292,5314,83716,9593,8249,4663,892
2019[7]5,4513,6155,8753,3385,56520,0985,21310,7746,105

NWSL attendance vs. other leagues

vs. other North American women's professional leagues

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.

LeagueYear StartedSport# TeamsSeasonAverage
attendance
Average vs.
prior season
Total
Attendance
Ref
National Women's Soccer League2013Soccer920197,337+21.8%792,409[7]
Women's National Basketball Association1996Basketball1220196,535−3.5%1,333,093[14]
National Pro Fastpitch2004Fastpitch520151,128+26%~135,360[15]
National Women's Hockey League2015Ice hockey42016–17900[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

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

LeagueYear StartedDivision# TeamsSeasonAverage
attendance
Average vs.
prior season
Total
Attendance
Ref
Major League Soccer1996Men's DI24[lower-alpha 1]201921,305−2.6%8,694,584[17]
National Women's Soccer League2013Women's DI920197,337+21.8%792,409[7]
North American Soccer League[lower-alpha 2]2011Men's DII820174,734−5.4%550,826[18]
USL Championship[lower-alpha 3]2011Men's DII33[lower-alpha 4]20184,916+14.3%2,757,833[19]
  1. MLS will have 26 teams in 2020, 27 in 2021, and at least 29 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

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.

LeagueYear StartedNation# TeamsSeasonAverage
attendance
Average vs.
prior season
Total
Attendance
Ref
National Women's Soccer League2013United States920197,337+21.8%792,409[7]
Liga MX Femenil2017Mexico162017 Apertura2,743NA~307,200[20]
W-League2008Australia92017–182,139116,290[21]
FA WSL 12011England112018-191,010+21.2%~111,100[22]
Frauen-Bundesliga1990Germany122016–17835−22.4%110,642[23]

Individual game highest attendance

Regular season

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Venue Location Date Source
1Portland Thorns FC2–1North Carolina Courage25,218*Providence ParkPortland, ORAugust 11, 2019 (2019-08-11)[24]
2Portland Thorns FC0–0Washington Spirit24,521Providence ParkPortland, OROctober 12, 2019 (2019-10-12)[25]
3Orlando Pride3–1Houston Dash23,403Camping World StadiumOrlando, FLApril 23, 2016 (2016-04-23)[26][27]
4Portland Thorns FC5-0Houston Dash22,329Providence ParkPortland, ORJuly 24, 2019 (2019-07-24)[28]
5Portland Thorns FC0–1Seattle Reign FC21,144*Providence ParkPortland, ORJuly 22, 2015 (2015-07-22)[29]
Portland Thorns FC3–3Washington Spirit21,144*Providence ParkPortland, ORAugust 30, 2015 (2015-08-30)[30]
Portland Thorns FC3–2Western New York Flash21,144*Providence ParkPortland, ORSeptember 11, 2016 (2016-09-11)[31]
Portland Thorns FC3–1Chicago Red Stars21,144*Providence ParkPortland, ORSeptember 30, 2017 (2017-09-30)[32]
Portland Thorns FC3–1Seattle Reign FC21,144*Providence ParkPortland, ORSeptember 7, 2018[33]
10Portland Thorns FC1-0Houston Dash21,022Providence ParkPortland, ORSeptember 21, 2019 (2019-09-21)[34]

* Sellout

NWSL Championship playoffs

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Venue Date Stage Source
1Portland Thorns FC*0–3North Carolina Courage21,144Providence ParkSeptember 22, 2018 (2018-09-22)Final[35]
2Portland Thorns FC3–4Western New York Flash20,086Providence ParkOctober 2, 2016 (2016-10-02)Semifinal[36]
3Portland Thorns FC4–1Orlando Pride18,193Providence ParkOctober 7, 2017 (2017-10-07)Semifinal[37]
4Portland Thorns FC2–1Seattle Reign FC14,179Providence ParkSeptember 15, 2018 (2018-09-15)Semifinal[38]
5FC Kansas City*1–0Seattle Reign FC13,264Providence ParkOctober 1, 2015 (2015-10-01)Final[39]
6North Carolina Courage*4–0Chicago Red Stars10,227WakeMed Soccer ParkOctober 27, 2019 (2019-10-27)Final[40]
7North Carolina Courage1–0Chicago Red Stars10,017WakeMed Soccer ParkOctober 8, 2017 (2017-10-08)Semifinal[41]
8Chicago Red Stars1–0Portland Thorns FC9,218SeatGeek StadiumOctober 20, 2019 (2019-10-20)Semifinal[42]
9Western New York Flash0–2Portland Thorns FC9,129Sahlen's StadiumAugust 31, 2013 (2013-08-31)Final[43]
10Washington Spirit2 (2) – 2 (3)Western New York Flash8,255BBVA StadiumOctober 9, 2016 (2016-10-09)Final[44]

Note: * Indicates "home" team in predetermined venue for championship final

See also

References

  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. "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. Levin, Andrew; Broughton, David (September 10, 2019). "WNBA Turnstile Tracker: Attendance Down At End Of Regular Season". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  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. Kennedy, Paul (13 October 2019). "NWSL attendance jumps 23 percent to new record in 2019". www.socceramerica.com. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  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 4, Red Stars 0 (2019 Final)". October 27, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  41. "Courage 1, Red Stars 0 (2017 Semifinal)". October 8, 2017. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  42. "Red Stars 1, Thorns 0 (2019 Semifinal)". October 20, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  43. Hays, Graham (September 8, 2013). "Portland blazes trail with NWSL title". ESPN. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  44. "Flash win 2016 Final on penalties". October 9, 2016. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
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