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Average attendance drops despite Women's World Cup bump
by Paul Kennedy, August 17th, 2011 1:27AM
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TAGS:  wps


[WPS] Despite a big boost in attendance following the 2011 Women's World Cup, Women's Professional Soccer suffered another drop in average attendance.

WPS was headed for a huge drop in average attendance until the USA's exciting finish at Germany '11 drew huge television audiences and created household names out of stars such as Abby Wambach and Hope Solo.

Through July 17 (35 games), average attendance was only 2,561. It was 5,282 for the remainder of the regular season (19 games). WPS finished with a season average of 3,518, down from 3,601 in 2010 and 4,684 in 2009.

Thanks to a record crowd of 15,404 on July 20 for its first game following the Women's World Cup, expansion Western New York led the league with an average of 4,881 fans.

Perhaps most ominously, Boston and Sky Blue FC -- the only two remaining teams from the 2009 launch -- suffered drops for the second year in a row.

Women's Professional Soccer Attendance

2009 AVG.
2010 AVG.
2011 (1st part) AVG.
2011 (2nd part) AVG.
2011 AVG.
Western NY
Sky Blue FC

Note: 2011 1st part=through July 17, date of Women's World Cup final; 2011 2nd part-after July 17.

  1. F. Kirk Malloy
    commented on: August 17, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.
    The women's game can gain a lot of interest when national pride and competition is at stake (see attendance and TV audience for World Cup and national team games and even friendlies) but otherwise continues to struggle. Why? My daughter, a D1 player, often watches the men in EPL, La Liga, Champions League, but almost never WPS. She says "[Women's] Game is way too slow and they just don't play attractive soccer." Suggestions: 1) play Barca ball, not boot and run (Barca and SNT have proved you don't have to be "big and athletic" to play wonderful and attractive soccer so promote and develop the technical players starting at U-10; MORE THAN ANY OTHER CHANGE THIS WILL IMPROVE THE LONG-TERM VIABILITY OF THE WOMEN'S GAME; they simply can't compete with the men on the athletic/physical scale, but CAN compete and excel on the technical/intelligence scale, so EMBRACE that style), 2) here's a radical one, lighten the ball (women simply don't have the strength to drive/bend/make dance the men's size 5 ball, so keep it the same size but reduce the weight so women can drive the ball at about the same speed the men can; would lead to a much quicker, more exciting game, longer and more accurate passes and switches, and higher scores, and may even cut down on injuries and head trauma; WNBA plays with a slighter smaller ball, so why not have slightly lighter ball in the women's game?), and 3) loosen the substitution rules to allow players to be subbed in first half and return in second half (would speed up game and keep fresh legs on the field). Just my suggestions. Oh yeah, also team up with MLS (ala NBA/WNBA). It just makes too much financial sense (facilities, marketing, administration expenses), so long as the women's teams maintain autonomy where it counts. Good luck!
  1. Larry Watson
    commented on: August 17, 2011 at 9:37 a.m.
    Better suggestion, as I said when they were suggesting a new league. Stick a fork in it, never gonna happen in the US, as even the above's daughter knows what real soccer is.
  1. Ryan Zimmer
    commented on: August 17, 2011 at 11:19 a.m.
    Smaller ball works wonders for Women's soccer.
  1. Tyler Dennis
    commented on: August 17, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.
    Good ideas Kirk. Not a fan of the substitution idea, but the others are good. They definitely need to increase their speed of play... it's just that the big girls they all recruit/draft may not have the technical ability - they are built for 80's English soccer, not 2010 Barca ball.
  1. David Huff
    commented on: August 17, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.
    It would be helpful if they would partner with MLS teams to coordinate scheduling of games at shared facilities, make a "double header" so that costs can be shared and also provide improved facilities that MLS has. A go-it alone approach would seem cost-prohibitive and logistically challenging plus losing out on the added attraction of using the better MLS facilities.
  1. Kevin Parker
    commented on: August 19, 2011 at 12:03 p.m.
    The Freedom tried several doubleheaders with DC United, and it was never a great success. If the Freedom game was scheduled first, none of the MLS fans showed up because they were out tailgating. The one doubleheader where the Freedom went second was more of a success, but still most of the DCU fans left before the game, and most of the rest left at halftime.

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