Women’s Soccer has arrived
In sports, what makes for an grand arrival? Does it have to do with how many people follow a game? Or maybe it has to do with how much money the game brings in? Well, in the case of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, both of these questions may have been answered at once.
The tournament itself has already been wildly successful, with FIFA projecting one billion viewers by the end of the World Cup. However, that audience is set to increase exponentially, particularly in France. The U.S. Women’s National Team and the French Women’s National Team are set to face off at Parc des Princes in Paris in a quarterfinal matchup fit for a final.
The anticipation for this match is palpable. It is a matchup of the reigning world champions (USA) and the host nation (France), who also represent the strongest threat to the American women’s crown. The USWNT’s resume, which includes victories in three of the seven previous Women’s World Cups, is unquestioned. However, the French connection of defensive midfielder Amandine Henry and striker Eugenie Le Sommer, along with centre-back Wendie Renard, the tournament’s tallest player at 6’2″, will undoubtedly give the American women many headaches on Friday.
Now about that anticipation: France expects 20 million people to watch the match in the country. To put that in perspective, the country’s population stands at 66 million, so about a third of the nation’s residents are expected to tune in.
But what about the demand to see the game in person? Judging from ticket resale values, it’s sky-high, with a prime front-row seat reselling for $11,000! For comparison’s sake, the cheapest available ticket is selling for $680, which is more than the best ticket at the last Women’s World Cup final sold for.
Given the USWNT’s struggles in their previous match against Spain, where they did not score from open play or set pieces (both goals came from the penalty spot), France stands more than chance of upsetting the tournament’s best team. Regardless of who wins, the match will propel the women’s game to new heights of popularity.