The growth of women’s soccer in Europe has been a challenge in recent years. With the abundance of big soccer leagues, players, and national teams for men in Europe, it has taken away from the talent of the European women players. As a matter of fact, some of the top women players and leagues are based in Europe. With the excellent turnout the Euros received, the growth of women’s soccer in Europe is increasing at a rapid rate.
Growth of Women’s Soccer in Europe: Spectators
It has been the year of breaking records from female clubs in Europe this year. F.C Barcelona Femení broke a record for the largest crowd ever at a women’s football match with a total of 91,648 supporters during their semifinals UEFA Women’s Champions League match against VfL Wolfsburg Women back in May. The Euro 2022 finals between England and Germany grew a crowd of 87,192 at Wembley Stadium, the most ever for both a men and female European fixture. The viewers for the finals in the U.K was over 17 million. This was the most viewed event in the country this year.
The WUCL Finals between F.C Barcelona Femení and Olympique Lyonnais Féminin drew an attendance of over 91,000, the most ever for a WUCL final. Also because of the high demand of fans that wanted to watch the game, many streaming services showed the game and drew over 3.6 million views. The women’s FA Cup finals between Chelsea F.C Women and Manchester City Women Football Club drew a crowd of 49,094, which is the most ever for a women’s FA Cup final. There was also over six million people that tuned in to watch it on T.V in the U.K.
This is just the beginning and a huge step forward in the growth of women’s soccer in Europe. The women’s World Cup in 2023 is projecting to grow more viewers in Europe than of previous years. Germany and England have become heavy favorites to deny the Americans of a three-peat. After the 2022 Euros, several fans will now be supporting their countries in their fight for Women’s World Cup glory.
Prices of Tickets
A reason for the huge turnout at women’s fixtures does have to do with the prices of tickets. For the women 2022 Euro matches, group stage tickets averaged between $6-$25, with England group stage tickets averaging between $8-$50. The quarter and semifinal ticket prices averaged between $6-50 while the finals only averaged between $12-$60. The prices for the men Euros in 2021 were a whole lot more than the cost of the women. The group stage, Round of 16, and quarter final ticket prices averaged between $30-$230. The semifinals tickets averaged $200-$610, and the finals averaged between $302-$970.
This goes the same for the UEFA Champions League. An average ticket to a regular WUCL game averaged between $5-$52. The finals tickets between F.C Barcelona Femení and Lyon Féminin averaged between $10-$20. For the men’s UEFA Champions League, an average ticket can vary between $80-$100, and it can go up to $400-$500. The final tickets between Real Madrid and Liverpool averaged between $71-$615.
There is no secret that in Europe, male soccer players get paid more money than female soccer players because of the revenue and sponsorships men get over women. However, with the attendance of fans in women fixture growing, it is a step in the direction in the growth of women’s soccer in Europe. Making the tickets affordable was a great idea to attract fans to the games. Though women should be getting paid more, knowing that this many fans are supporting them is exactly what is needed to give those women the payment they deserve.
Growth of Women’s Soccer in Europe: Talent in the European Leagues and Players
The world’s best female clubs are all based in Europe. F.C Barcelona Femení had an astonishing year. They had a 41-game unbeaten record in the season (which Wolfsburg Women broke in the second leg of the WUCL semifinals). The world’s best player Alexia Putellas had an amazing year with 18 goals and 15 assists. With F.C Barcelona’s poor season in 2021-22, many looked and supported the female side, who have been one of best clubs in the world.
However, the best club team in the world and has been for several years is Olympique Lyonnais Féminin. They defeated Barcelona Feminí 3-1 in the WUCL finals to claim their eight Champions League title, and their sixth in a row. They have won the Division One Féminine title 15 times in a row. The club is on the list for one of the most successful winning clubs in football history. Another teams who have been great this season in Europe is Chelsea F.C Women, who are coming off a FA WSL League title win and a women’s FA Cup win. Wolfsburg Women are coming off a title win in the Frauen-Bundesliga and a semifinal appearance in the WUCL. Juventus F.C Women’s are also coming off a title win in the Serie A Femminile after five years of existence.
Not only are female clubs in Europe the best in the world, their players are as well. In the list of the top 50 best women players so far in 2022, the top 20 have at least 19 players that are either from or play in Europe. From the list, five players play for Barcelona Femení, four from Chelsea Women, four from Lyon Féminin, two from PSG Féminine, and two from Arsenal W.F.C. Spanish players top the list with five in the top 20, England is second with three players, and the Netherlands, Norway, and France all have two each in the top 20.
FIFA 23 and Nationally Ranked Nations
Chelsea Women’s forward from Australia Sam Kerr will feature on the global cover of FIFA 23 with Kylian Mbappe. She will be the first female to be featured on the global cover. FIFA added women national teams to their game back in 2015 in FIFA 16. However, there was only 12 countries that were featured on the game. FIFA 22 then added five more nations to the women’s side. Now in the last installation of EA FIFA 23, women’s club teams will be added to the game. This is huge for the growth of women’s soccer in Europe. Millions play FIFA and it is the most popular video game for soccer in the world. Having women club’s in FIFA gets fans more familiar to their clubs, player rankings, and the different national teams.
As far as ranked national teams, there are five European countries in the FIFA top 10 rankings. U.S have remained number one, while Sweden, France, the Netherlands, and Germany follow. The last time a European nation was first was March 2017 when Germany took over first place over the U.S. The main goal for European nations is to be at the level of the U.S in national team play. The Americans have been number one for nearly eight years and have won two World Cups in that span.
However, they have failed to capture an Olympic gold since 2012. During the 2020 Olympics in Japan, the Americans fell short to Canada 1-0 in a huge upset. The women’s World Cup next year will be one of the most competitive one history. With the amount of talent European players have and with the growth of popularity and prioritizing women’s soccer in Europe, the sport will have the same popularity as the men’s in years to come.