The rise? women's football (with data)

Women's football continues its unstoppable rise, and its repercussion in the media (and, consequently, in our society) is increasing. Recently, the veteran and controversial journalist Jose Maria Garcia manifested the program laugh group of the Cope Chain that "women's football is a lie" and that if they had achieved the attendance record at the Wanda Metropolitano it was simply because the tickets were given away:

“They put 70.000 spectators in the Wanda. Yes, 70.000 invitations. And the following Sunday, 1.200. Thats the reality".

These statements created a stir and are in direct contrast to the triumphant aroma that emerges from each of the news surrounding women's football. The players of the Iberdrola League, buoyed by this boom and encouraged by social networks and the media, in order to match their male colleagues in terms of their working conditions, have recently gone on strike.

An Atleti-Barça «historic»

As García said, on March 17, women's football established its greatest milestone in Spain. The Iberdrola League match between Atlético de Madrid and FC Barcelona and which ended 0-2, was able to bring together a total of 60.739 viewers. This figure is more than double the average of the Santander Men's Football League, which also has players of the stature of Messi or Sergio Ramos, of enormous world importance.

The Wanda Metropolitano is a stadium capable of accommodating 68.456 spectators, so despite do not reach the absolute full (barely 7.717 seats were left unfilled) the appearance of the stands was that of a packed stadium. The Santander Men's Soccer League averages 28.693 spectators per match (less than half of those who watched the Wanda match live), counting in its competition with stadiums such as that of SD Eibar, with capacity for 7.083 spectators; that of CD Leganés, in which 12.450 enter; or the D. Alavés, with a capacity of 19.840. 

Atlético de Madrid, one of the clubs that have supported women's football the most from the beginning, wanted to actively contribute to achieving this record. In this sense, and taking advantage of the fact that it has more than 125.000 partners (it is the second club with the most members in Spain, only behind FC Barcelona and even ahead of Real Madrid), made available to each of them a completely free entry, regardless of whether they were paying members or not. This measure was received with great enthusiasm by the partners, although it was not enough to fill the mattress fiefdom.

But the support and promotion of Atlético de Madrid to women's football did not stop there, but also, for the general public, the ticket price was 5 euros, which contributed greatly to the achievement of the attendance record. Therefore, despite what José María García stated, not all tickets were distributed free of charge. By contrast, the average price of tickets in the Spanish men's soccer league is 70 euros, the second most expensive in the world, only behind the English Premier League, which exceeds 74, according to GoEuro. Despite these figures, the men's football matches are followed every Sunday, in each stadium, by an average of 28.693 people

Less than a thousand spectators per match

Free tickets for Atlético de Madrid members and reduced-price tickets for the general public were the ideal breeding ground to achieve this great record. However, the average number of spectators for women's football in the Iberdrola League, beyond the big events such as the Wanda Metropolitano or others that have recently taken place in San Mamés, barely reaches a thousand per game, just like has published Mundo Deportivo. Specific the women's football section of Atlético de Madrid, which sells tickets for 5 euros, brings together an average of 650 fans every Sunday and not 1.200 as José María García maintained.

But there is more, because, according to the newspaper Marca, the total number of fans who go to the stadiums of the women's soccer league every weekend is 5.700, while in the men's soccer league this figure reaches 286.930. From these data we can deduce the average number of fans in each match of the Iberdrola League, which stands at 712 (28.693 in the male case). 

television audiences

Wanda's attendance record was picked up, not only by all the sports media, but also by all the general media, which increasingly offer a bigger speaker to women's football without taking into account the attendance records at the matches or the data audience on television. The aforementioned match was broadcast openly and also free of charge by Gol outside of prime time and, according to data from the network itself, it obtained a 4,27% share and an average of 330.000 viewers. It even reached the figure of 413.000 viewers at the highest peak and 5,5% audience share. To these data should be added the viewers who at some point tuned in to the match through the Movistar+ payment platform, which also broadcast the match.

We see that this audience data is not so far from the average of a game normal men's soccer. The Santander League match between Granada and Real Sociedad on November 3 and which was broadcast in prime time by the Movistar+ payment platform reached 320.000 viewers and it stayed at a 1,8% share of the screen. For his part, the Granada-Betis on October 27 and which was broadcast openly by Gol outside of prime time, obtained audience data from 612.000 viewers and a 5,5% share.

Therefore, as we said at the beginning of this text, women's football in Spain is already a reality and its rise is unstoppable. However, there are still many steps to take.

In the last Women's World Cup played in France, Spain was eliminated in the round of XNUMX by the United States. As unanimously maintained by all the media, Jorge Vilda's team played a magnificent role by winning only one of the four games played (against South Africa), drawing another and losing two of them. The tournament was broadcast openly and completely free of charge by Gol. With the round of 1.320.000 match against the United States, which is considered the main power in this sport, Mediapro's thematic channel obtained the audience record for the season with 12,8 viewers and a XNUMX% share, also placing as leader of the thematic chains during the day. In contrast to men's football, we observe that the last match Spain friendly against Bosnia Herzegovina On November 18, 2018, without real significance at a competitive level, he obtained a audience share of 16,8% and a total of 3.193.000 viewers.

Photography: La Gradona Atleti

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