The 2023 event, hosted jointly by Australia and New Zealand, was also the first World Cup to be hosted across two nations.
In-person attendance across all matches was 1,978,274 – the highest number in the history of the women’s world cup event, which has been running every four years since 1991. A total of 777,000 people also attended official FIFA Fan Festivals during the world cup.
The number of teams playing in the event was boosted from 24 to 32 in this iteration of the event, which would have had a positive impact on attendance.
Numbers of fans engaging with FIFA’s digital channels was also at a record high, with over 50 million visitors – a 130 per cent increase on the last women’s world cup event, which was held in Paris in 2019.
There had been concerns that the Australia-New Zealand event would not be as successful as previous women’s events, due to the time difference and because the soccer would be competing against other more dominant sports in both countries, which are both strong rugby nations, in addition to Australia’s AFL obsession.
However, FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino called this year’s event “truly transformational” referencing “full houses everywhere” in stadiums and a two billion strong audience watching via other means.
With Australia’s Matildas’ having unprecedented success at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the event has also put a massive spotlight on women’s sport in Australia, with broadcasts of the Australian games breaking viewing records. The Australian games against Denmark and France both became the most watched programs on television this year, with the Australia-England game garnering a television audience of over 11 million, making it the most watched television program of any kind in Australia since the current rating system came into being in 2001.
The Australian Government has also announced a $200 million investment in women’s sports during the World Cup tournament.
“The Matildas have given us a moment of national inspiration, this is about seizing that opportunity for the next generation, investing in community sporting facilities for women and girls around Australia,” said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as part of the announcement.