NWSL Has Seen 70% Attendance Increase Since End Of World Cup
USWNT players have been calling for fans to "turn their support into action and pay more attention" to the NWSL, and fans "appear to have responded -- NWSL attendance numbers have skyrocketed" since this summer's Women's World Cup, according to Lila Bromberg of USA TODAY. League-wide attendance increased 70% from games "before the World Cup to games after the tournament," with attendance after the World Cup showing a 53% "increase from average numbers" in '18. Six of the nine NWSL teams "hosted sellout crowds following the USWNT's dominant World Cup run." The Portland Thorns had the "largest crowd in club and league history with 22,329 fans on July 24." Sky Blue FC had its "first sold-out game and biggest crowd in four years" on that same day. The league "knows its next task is sustaining the growth and making sure this isn't just a bump following the World Cup," and if "anyone knows how to do that," it is Thorns Owner & CEO Merritt Paulson. He said that other NWSL franchises can "continue to grow their fan bases if they market their product better." He also said that the "key to the NWSL's future is expanding beyond the nine current teams." Paulson: "There are many other cities that I think, if the teams launched right and the owners control the facilities and either have a MLS or a USL team as well, they can really succeed and prosper" (USA TODAY, 8/7).