The opening weekend of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League (WSL) began with record attendances, thanks to derby matches held at the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge.
On the back of the successful FIFA Women’s World Cup in France over the summer, a decision was taken to ensure that the opening games of the WSL season would take place during a men’s international break and that some high-profile derbies would be used to kick off the new campaign.
On the back of that, Manchester City and Chelsea - who played derbies again newly-promoted sides Manchester United and Tottenham respectively - opened the doors to the Etihad and Stamford Bridge to facilitate a larger number of fans.
In total, 63,000 people turned up to WSL games across the country on opening weekend, a significant boost for a league whose average 2018/19 attendance was 833. However, the majority of those fans watched at the iconic Premier League grounds, with over 31,000 attending the Manchester derby at the Etihad, and over 24,000 watching a London derby at Stamford Bridge. The next highest crowd was at Ashton Gate, where over 3,000 came to watch Bristol City draw with Brighton.
In an effort to set record crowds, Chelsea gave out free tickets, of which 40,000 were claimed. Manchester City, meanwhile, set the adult ticket price at £7 and allowed three under 16s to enter with each paying adult.