WSL: Why are certain teams drawing in more fans than others?

Exploring the notable discrepancies in WSL match attendance.

Charlotte Lee
11th March 2024
Image Credit: joshjdss, Wikimedia Commons
Just one day after Arsenal Women sold out the Emirates with an attendance of over 60,000 fans, Everton Women only managed to draw in 987 home fans in their clash against West Ham. But what seems to be the cause of this disparity between front runners like Arsenal compared with the rest of the Women’s Super League? 

Undoubtedly, Arsenal women are pushing the women's game forward in a strong, positive way. However, in comparison to Everton, Arsenal’s team holds the names of fan favourites like Katie McCabe, Beth Mead and Leah Williamson,  as well as new signings of the likes of Alessia Russo and Emily Fox. These star-studded names have been the catalysts for the record-breaking attendances we are currently seeing at certain WSL matches.

This discrepancy in attendance was largely due to their post-break-up match being sensationalised on TikTok

A proportion of this growth in attendance can be attributed to the heightened attention which is paid to the personal lives of these players on social media platforms like TikTok. For example, following the breakup between London City Lioness Ruesha Littlejohn and Arsenal's Katie McCabe, the attendance at the FA Cup Quarter Final between Arsenal and the London City Lionesses' was 3,900. However, the London City Lionesses match against Durham Women, only 4 days later, had a showing of 172. Once again, this discrepancy in attendance was largely due to their post-break-up match being sensationalised on TikTok.

The main concern with the heightened attention towards certain players is that it is taking away from the game itself and the growing support for the women's game. Long-term fans of the women's game are concerned that the fanpages on TikTok are far more concerned with the couples and the relationships within the league rather than the talent that is on the pitch.

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