SYDNEY — A New Zealand family of five purchased the tickets that took the sales total to 1.5 million for the Women’s World Cup on Monday.
Soccer’s world governing body says the tournament being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand is on track to be the best attended in the competition’s history.
FIFA said the 1,500,000th ticket went to Auckland woman Maria Strong, who bought tickets for her husband and three children to attend Italy’s Group G win over Argentina at Eden Park as part of a family celebration for her son’s 12th birthday.
In a statement, FIFA said the sales target had been surpassed within the first five days of the month-long tournament, setting the 2023 edition on course to surpass 2015 in Canada for the record attendance. More than 1.35 million people attended a 52-game tournament in Canada. The tournament has expanded to 32 teams this year.
The opening games set records for women’s soccer matches in both co-host countries. The crowd at New Zealand’s upset win over Norway last Thursday set a new mark of 42,137. Australia’s 1-0 over Ireland attracted 75,784 at Stadium Australia, which is also the venue for the final on Aug. 20.
“We are seeing a surge in support for women’s football, not just in ticket sales, but also in broadcast viewership, fan festival participation and merchandise sales,” Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said.
Football Australia said the first 12 games had a combined attendance of 363,937. with the average of 30,326 per game surpassing the 21,756 for the first dozen at France 2019 and the historical Women’s World Cup average of 24,780.
The 1999 tournament in the United States holds the record for highest average match attendance, with a crowd average of 37,944 across 32 games.