Australia is slowly realising just how big the Women’s World Cup will be

2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, featured, football

When Australia and New Zealand were awarded the rights to host this year’s edition of the Women’s World Cup, every Australian who had even an ounce of football knowledge understood the enormity of the tournament.

Thirty-two nations will gather both Down Under and across the ditch, which will provide incredible exposure and economic benefits through the tourism sector.

Some people still share the view that women’s football and more broadly women’s sport doesn’t have enough quality and that the standard is far inferior compared to the men.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A sport that was completely dominated by the American national team since the World Cup’s inception in 1991, the past decade has seen a rise in the development of top European nations in particular.

They are fully aware of how much the game is growing around the globe and are keeping up by providing crucial funding that has never been seen before.

Sam Kerr of Australia celebrates

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Over in England, the Women’s Super League has taken full flight and is now able to attract the best talents in the world.

The best part? Our Aussie girls are making their mark for clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Sam Kerr, Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord are among those who have taken the league by storm, which can only serve as a positive for the Matildas and their aspirations for the upcoming World Cup in July.

Joe Montemurro is representing Australia by coaching the Juventus women’s side in Italy, while Matildas fullback Ellie Carpenter is plying her trade in France with Lyon, where they are constant contenders for the women’s edition of the European Champions League.

Football Australia announced on Tuesday morning that it had agreed to a deal with FIFA to move Australia’s opening game of the World Cup to Stadium Australia, allowing for an extra 38,000 fans to attend the showpiece match in Sydney.

“The move from Sydney Football Stadium to Stadium Australia is big for Australian football and highlights the confidence which we have in the Matildas to draw a huge crowd for the first match of the tournament in Australia,” FA CEO James Johnson said.

Such high demand for tickets six months out from the tournament is awesome. It demonstrates that the World Cup will captivate the country as no other sport can.

For those who don’t understand just how big it will be or have doubts about it being a success, you just have to look at the popularity in numbers in years past to get a full grasp.

Four years prior at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, FIFA’s key findings found that 1.12 billion viewers tuned in on TV at home, on digital platforms or outside of home.

The final between the USA and the Netherlands reached over 260 million viewers, with the average live match audience more than doubling from the 2015 tournament.

Obviously there is quite an appetite for women’s football.

The World Cup is regarded as the biggest sporting event on the planet on the men’s side, which helps push the initiative for women to have their sport constantly growing.

Australia won’t know what will hit them until the anticipation and hype really start to grip the country at its core.

Many will argue that the women’s cricket T20 World Cup back in 2020 offered a great spectacle and high audience numbers, with the final between Australia and India attracting 86,174 fans to the MCG.

It was a great advert for women’s sport but, with all due respect, it doesn’t match the global reach and demand football can offer.

The Matildas have been the darlings of Australian sport for more than a decade now, inspiring young women to follow in the footsteps of their heroes. They are truly liked and well respected and are role models to follow.

Add this all in, and the World Cup here is going to become one heck of a party. It will offer the chance to celebrate just how far women’s football has come not only around the world but more importantly here in Australia, where the game has often played third or fourth fiddle to other codes.

Could it potentially open more eyes and impact people’s opinion of just how big football actually is?

The demand is already high, and the thrilling part is that it’s just getting started.

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