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2023 World Cup smashes attendance record with 1.98 million fans

Spain celebrates its World Cup victory. (Saeed KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

This was the most-attended Women’s World Cup of all time.

An announced 75,784 people descended upon Stadium Australia in Sydney to watch Spain defeat England, 1-0, in the championship match. The World Cup final pushed the unofficial attendance for the tournament to just under 1.98 million people.

“Credit to the tournament, it’s been phenomenal, the crowds that we’ve generated and the support that all teams have and it’s been surreal, it’s been so visible,” England captain Mille Bright said to reporters after the final. “In terms of the women’s game … I definitely think we’re at our peak.”

About 1.13 million people attended the 2019 World Cup in France, setting the previous record. The 2019 final, in which the U.S. women’s national team defeated the Netherlands, 2-0, was attended by 57,900 people. This year’s tournament, held in nine host cities across Australia and New Zealand from July 20 through Aug. 20, proves interest in the women’s game has reached previously unseen levels.

Australia’s run to the semifinal proved to be a boon for local viewership. The Matildas’ loss to England in the semifinal drew an average of 7.13 million viewers on local broadcast channels, the highest ever recorded by research firm OzTAM, which launched in 2001.

And before the USWNT’s exit in the Round of 16, the team set TV records: Its 1-1 draw with the Netherlands set a record for group stage matches with 6.4 million viewers.

“It just feels like, after 50 years of Title IX and 50 years of girls and young women getting more and more opportunities to play sports, you’re seeing this breakthrough in interest in women’s sports as far as television properties,” Michael Mulvihill, Fox’s president of insights and analytics, told Deadline. “I feel like that’s actually the big story of this tournament.”