Football fans just cannot help falling in love with the women’s game in this country – with FA Women’s Super League 1 experiencing a 48 per cent rise in attendances for the 2015 season.
The average league attendance per match was 1,076 compared to 728 in 2014, as supporters flocked to witness another thrilling race for the top-flight title, with Chelsea claiming their maiden crown on the final day of the season.
England’s success at this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, where they finished third, also had a positive impact on the domestic game with attendances up by 29 per cent compared to matches before the tournament.
Emma Hayes’s Chelsea, who secured the title in front of a 2,710-strong crowd on Sunday, led the way in terms of growth with a 164 per cent increase in attendances compared to 2014. Top-flight newcomers Sunderland were second with a 123 per cent increase.
Manchester City, who finished second and secured UEFA Women’s Champions League football for the first time, had the highest average attendance with 1,500.
Sunday’s home match against Notts County secured the season’s highest attendance with 3,180 supporters at the Academy Stadium.
FA director of football participation and development Kelly Simmons said: “The sheer increase in attendances we’ve seen this season shows just what appetite there is for the women’s game in this country.
“2015 has been a landmark year for women’s football, with the success of the England team at the World Cup and the first-ever SSE Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley, and this is another marker of just how far the game has come.
“We’ve seen across clubs that fanbases are really growing and that matches have attracted general football fans as well, particularly after the World Cup.
“There is so much fantastic work taking place at clubs to drive attendances and raise awareness and this success is testament to that.”
The league’s second division, FA WSL 2, continues until 18 October. Doncaster Rovers Belles and Reading have both secured promotion into FA WSL 1 but are both still in contention to be named league champions.