Women's football enjoys huge attendance boost as WSL seasons ends

Attendances up 48 per cent on last season

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The Independent Online

Women’s football in England has seen continued growth in interest after the World Cup in Canada last summer, with attendance figures for the Women's Super League up 48 per cent this season from last. 

The WSL, which ended on Sunday with Chelsea beating Manchester City to the title on a dramatic final day, saw an increase in average attendance from 728 in 2014 to 1,076 in 2015. 

Chelsea Ladies celebrated their first title on Sunday, a far cry from a year ago when  they had tears in their eyes as the title slipped from their grasp, missing out on goal difference to Liverpool.  

Chelsea were one of eight clubs to form the new Women’s Super League for 2011 and the newly-crowned champions Chelsea Ladies enjoyed the biggest gain in attendance, with a 164 per cent increase while Sunderland Ladies were second with a 123 per cent rise. Manchester City had the highest average attendance with 1,500 going to matches on average.

“2015 has been a landmark year for women’s football, with the success of the England team at the World Cup and the first-ever SSE Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley and this is another marker of just how far the game has come,” said FA director of football participation and development Kelly Simmons.

At this current moment Women’s football is the largest female team sport in the country and the third largest team sport after men’s football and cricket. During the FIFA Women’s World Cup, The FA launched #WeCanPlay which was a campaign to encourage women’s football. 

The England Ladies were successful in finishing third at this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup and also had a positive impact on the game with attendances up by 29 per cent compared to matches before the tournament.  

England and Arsenal defender Alex Scott said: “It’s great to see that there is a new week dedicated to getting more girls to play football. Anything that gives the opportunity and confidence to try football is really important.”

Fox’s coverage of the Women’s World Cup Final between USA and Japan averaged 25.4 million total viewers, making it the most watched football match in US TV history.

The FA is launching Girls’ Football Week which is set to run 5-11 October and has developed from the success of previous Women’s Football Weeks which began in Further Education in 2012 and spread to Higher Education in 2014. Girls’ Football Week is aimed to encourage more schools in Britain to run female football sessions.