With Matildas’ matches becoming hot tickets, Australia’s run to the Women’s World Cup semifinals and the expanded 32-team format has helped set records for attendance at the tournament.
Football’s international governing body said on Tuesday that 1.77 million tickets have been sold for the tournament being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, with a total of 1,734,028 spectators attendance for the first 60 games. There were four more to go.
The record match attendance for the 2023 edition is 75,784 for three games under a restricted capacity at Sydney’s Stadium Australia, which was built for the 2000 Olympics.
FIFA said the average crowd for games across the 10 venues had been 28,900, more than 7,000 above the average for games at the 2019 edition in France and more than 4,000 above the historical average at the eight previous Women’s World Cups.
The competition was expanded from 24 to 32 teams for this edition.
Australia reached the semifinals for the first time with a 7-6 penalty shootout win over France in Brisbane last Saturday and will take on European champion England on Wednesday in Sydney for a spot in the final against either Sweden or Spain.
The country will be almost at a standstill when the semifinal is staged.
The Australian men’s basketball team, preparing for the FIBA World Cup starting later this month, is just one of the many teams adjusting match or practice times to ensure they can watch the national women’s soccer team.
Led by Atlanta Hawks guard Patty Mills, the Boomers moved up their warmup game against Brazil by a few hours on Wednesday so they and their supporters could see the broadcast of the Women’s World Cup semifinal.
“The Matildas have really captured the nation this World Cup,” Mills said. “Just like the rest of the country, our Boomers team have been locked in for each game, watching it as a team.”
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