The SSE Women’s FA Cup made history at Wembley Stadium on Saturday as it achieved a competition-record attendance of 45,423.
This is the fourth consecutive year that the record has been broken, with an increase of over 10,000 fans on last year’s cup final. Quite a contrast to just five years ago, when less than 5000 were in attendance at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.
Heather O’Reilly, 2018 cup finalist and winger for Arsenal Women, said: “People can’t be interested in the women’s game if they don’t watch it and these broadcasters need to have faith that people are more interested – it’s a cycle in that sense.
“Little by little we’re cracking that cycle by having more games on TV, strong performances from the international team, performing well and just making it an entertaining game.”
Peak viewing figures for live FA WSL matches have increased from 46,000 to 103,000 on BT Sport over the past 12 months, while the FA’s ‘Gameplan For Growth’ is on track to double the number of players and fans in the women’s game by 2020 – a clear indication that there’s a loyal fan base desperate for more WSL action.
“For the game to thrive it’s so important that we showcase the game as much as we can, and we create a brand and an identity that’s pleasing to the eye,” said Joe Montemurro, Arsenal Women manager.
“It’s always good to watch and there are always exciting games, so it’s important that we keep showcasing these games. It’s down to the broadcasters now.”