How great has the 2023 women’s football World Cup (WC) been?
Incredible crowds and incredible television ratings with an estimated 4.5 million Australians watching the Aussies defeat the Olympic champion Canada 4-0 and France in its quarter final on penalties.
On one level, I am hardly surprised that Australians have tuned in, and attended WC matches in record numbers given our love of major sporting events.
As a relatively small nation in terms of population (25 million) when compared to the much larger populations of the USA, Great Britain, France and Germany, we do very well when expressing our interest in so many sports.
Just like the Aussie fans turned out to watch the 2003 Rugby World Cup, including crowds of 15,000 in Tasmania and 25,000-30,000 in Adelaide to watch non-Australian matches, so it has been that the 2023 WC has seen all Australian venues host excellent crowds.
In Sydney, four 75,000 plus crowds attended Sydney’s 81,000 seater Olympic Stadium, including for the quarter final between England and Colombia, while four of the five matches at the 42,000 Sydney Football Stadium hosted 40,000 or more.
Brisbane 52,000 capacity rectangle stadium hosted 40,000 for six of its seven matches, including 49,000 for the quarter final between Australia and France and the last 16 match knockout match between England and Nigeria.
Melbourne’s 30,000 venue hosted crowds above 27,000 for all matches bar one, Perth with a 20,000 capacity had 16,000 to 18,000 attending all of its matches, and Adelaide’s smaller 16,500 capacity hosted around 13,000 for all games.
Make no mistake about it. Australia could easily have ten 40,000 plus venues with full crowds with most existing already, although including larger oval fields such as the Melbourne Cricket ground (100,000) and Docklands (56,000), Perth’s 60,000 venue, Adelaide Oval (53,000) and even Geelong’s Kardinia Park soon to have a 40,000 capacity.
And it would not take much to expand Newcastle’s rectangle stadium from 30,000 to 40,000 or more.
Add Auckland alone, and perhaps other New Zealand venues, and bingo our great sports loving region will have a serious men’s World Cup bid.
Football in Australia has long arrived as a major sport, and the 2023 WC can only help.
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