The determinants of stadium attendance in elite women’s football: Evidence from the FA Women’s Super League

Maurizio Valenti, Nicolas Scelles, Stephen Morrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Research question
While increasing the number of spectators at women’s football matches is critical for the commercial growth of the sport, the academic literature offers limited evidence on the drivers of stadium attendance for women’s football. This study investigates the factors influencing fan interest in the English Football Association (FA) Women’s Super League (WSL).

Research methods
Analysing 476 WSL games played from 2013 to 2018/19, regression models are tested to determine the impacts of socioeconomic factors, product-specific variables, match outcome uncertainty, and the substitution effect.

Results and findings
Strong local economies increase attendance at FA WSL matches, with weekend games, favourable weather, and shorter travel distances also attracting more fans. Higher stadium capacity, outcome certainty, and home team winning odds are associated with increased fan interest. Fans of integrated clubs attend women’s matches less when these clash with games of the respective men’s team, except for double-headers.

Implications
Improving scheduling and matchday facilities is vital for women’s football. Harmonising the football calendar while considering men’s and women’s national and international competitions can enhance stadium attendance at FA WSL matches. Encouraging cross-fertilisation between men’s and women’s football supporters can create spillover effects and boost women’s game attendance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Sport Management Quarterly
Early online date22 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2024

Keywords

  • Sports attendance
  • fan behaviour
  • outcome uncertainty
  • sports spectators
  • substitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management

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