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Volume 26 No. 210
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Return Of World Cup Stars Fuels Big Crowds At Weekend NWSL Games

Excitement from the USWNT's World Cup win "might be spilling" into the NWSL, as "many hoped," according to Jack Baer of YAHOO SPORTS. Several teams have "seen a significant increase in attendance for their first games with USWNT players since the World Cup." The Chicago Red Stars hosted the N.C. Courage yesterday in front of a first-ever sellout crowd of 17,388. The Red Stars' "average attendance last year was 4,368 per game." Last season, the Utah Royals' average was 9,466, the Orlando Pride's was 4,837 and the Washington Spirit's was 3,892. They drew 15,931, 9,415 and 5,500 fans, respectively, over the weekend. Each of those teams and their opponents "features a significant player from the USWNT as well." The question now is whether the NWSL can "retain its new fans as the World Cup moves further and further away." That "remains to be seen, but the league is probably still happy with where it is right now compared to a few months ago" (, 7/22). In DC, Matthew Gutierrez noted USWNT players have returned from the World Cup "looking to buoy" the NWSL. While the league has "struggled to attract fans" since it's first season in '12, it may be able to "capitalize on World Cup excitement this summer." Spirit coach Richie Burke said, "I hope [fans] continue to watch" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/21).

GAINING MOMENTUM: ESPN’s Zubin Mehenti said “you can see the momentum from the Women’s World Cup still there, plenty of people still excited.” Mehenti: “Great sign for the NWSL” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 7/22). ESPN’s Jenn Hildreth said, “All weekend long it has really been a celebration across the NWSL as the World Cup players come back.” ESPN’s Angela Hucles said there is "such an excitement still from this World Cup” (“Courage-Red Stars,” ESPN2, 7/21).

N.C. Courage-Chicago Red Stars
17,388 (sellout)
Sky Blue-Orlando Pride
Houston Dash-Washington Spirit
5,500 (sellout)
Portland Thorns-Utah Royals
Download the
NWSL Attendance Chart