NWSL welcomes one million fans, sets new attendance record
With a crowd of 11,827 on hand for last Friday’s Kansas City Current match against Angel City FC, the National Women’s Soccer League officially surpassed one million fans in attendance for the 2023 regular season. Two days later, San Diego Wave FC welcomed nearly 25,000 fans to Snapdragon Stadium for the club’s Sunday match against the Houston Dash, helping the league set a new attendance mark of 1,060,978.
The new record, which marks the second-straight regular season to host over a million fans, comes with four weeks of play remaining in the season ahead of the 2023 NWSL Playoffs.
The new attendance mark includes a record 11 regular season matches with more than 20,000 fans in attendance, nearly triple the amount from 2022 (4). Additionally, the number of crowds over 10,000 this season has nearly doubled from 2022 with 42 matches, surpassing the mark in 2023 compared to 22 contests during last year’s campaign. Heading into Week 19, five teams are currently averaging over 10,000 fans per match, nearly a threefold increase compared to any of the NWSL’s previous 10 seasons.
“Few metrics more clearly demonstrate the growing enthusiasm for our sport than our attendance figures and the numbers we’re currently seeing across the league are extraordinary,” said NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman. “Fans are turning out in droves to witness the talent, athleticism and passion of our remarkable players on the pitch, and this year’s record attendance is a testament to the excitement our great game has to offer week in and week out. The future of women’s soccer is brighter than ever, and we look forward to welcoming the next million fans to the stands as we head into the final weeks of the 2023 season and the campaigns to come.”
Throughout the season, three clubs have set new home attendance records, including the Kansas City Current, who have broken their own mark three separate times this season, most recently in Week 16 when the club welcomed 13,455 fans to Children’s Mercy Park. In addition to the Current, NJ/NY Gotham FC (15,058) and Racing Louisville FC (10,214) have set club records of their own, each welcoming more than 10,000 fans for a single home match for the first time in club history.
The Washington Spirit have recorded six matches with over 10,000 fans, besting their previous season high of two crowds at that capacity, while on the west coast, Angel City FC has matched its attendance record from 2022 with four sellout crowds of 22,000 this season.
Averaging 20,194 fans a match, San Diego is currently pacing to set a new regular season average attendance mark. The current record is held by the Portland Thorns, who hosted 20,098 fans per match in 2019.
As the NWSL welcomed back the 62 players featured in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the return of the regular season saw season highs in attendance for six clubs: Angel City (22,000), Kansas City (13,455), OL Reign (10,106 - standalone), Portland Thorns FC (22,107), Racing Louisville (10,214) and Washington (13,048).
With four weeks remaining ahead of playoffs, the league’s average attendance of 9,916 in 2023 is on track to set a new NWSL record and break the all-time U.S. women's pro soccer league mark, which currently sits at 8,102 from the inaugural WUSA season in 2001.
The 2023 regular season continues Friday, September 15, as Racing Louisville takes on the Houston Dash at Lynn Family Stadium in Week 19 action.