Women’s football is certainly starting to be embraced by our nation as record attendances and viewing figures continue to be shattered.
I will be the first to admit, I wouldn’t have thought 5-years-ago that I would have shown so much interest in the UEFA Women’s European Championships and attending two consecutive FA Cup finals at Wembley Stadium.
Despite attendance figures being seemingly poor in the Netherlands for the current European Championships, the Lionesses were certainly warmly received by the nation despite the thorough disappointment of the semi-final exit.Embed from Getty Images
Last Thursday night, over four million people tuned into Channel 4 to watch England’s battle against the host nation; the most viewers the channel had received this year as tweeted by host Claire Balding.
Despite showing his disappointment, England manager Mark Sampson was pleased by the show the women’s game is producing:
“If there are more games like that then women’s football will be in a fantastic place”.Embed from Getty Images
I have also had the pleasure to watch and work at the two most recent FA cup finals held at the home of English football. This years final in particular highlights the development with attendances growing and breaking records year on year:
2013 – 4,988 (Keepmoat Stadium)
2014 – 15,098 (Stadium MK)
2015 – 30,710 (Wembley Stadium)
2016 – 32,912 (Wembley Stadium)
2017 – 35,271 (Wembley Stadium)
Another substantial moment in women’s football this summer is the transfer of Toni Duggan from Manchester City to Barcelona for an undisclosed fee. Duggan is the first English player since Gary Lineker to move to the Spanish giants for 31 years. The transfer itself has encouraged national media coverage even shadowing some transfers made in the highly popular men’s game.Embed from Getty Images
It is certainly time for women’s football to capitalise on the hype surrounding the game. The game will only grow. The extended media coverage allows young girls to understand the game isn’t just played by men and that the sport is now big enough financially to provide high-quality wages.
However, it will probably still be a long time till we see a female footballer on £515,000 a week, such as PSG’s Brazilian star Neymar, yet it is certainly an opportunity for the future.
It’s exciting to see what the future will bring for females in football and sports in general. With another example being the England women’s cricket team putting on a show winning the Women’s cricket World Cup. Hopefully, women’s sports all continue to grow, with teams developing global fan bases and bringing plenty more national success to our sport driven country.
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Featured Image Source: James Boyes
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/37972999@N07/13727590834
Attribution: By James Boyes (Flickr: England Ladies v Montenegro 5 4 2014 117) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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