Still Changing The Game: The Matildas Effect Evident As A-League Women Season Opens

Still Changing The Game: The Matildas Effect Evident As A-League Women Season Opens

The Matildas effect is still being felt two months after the closing of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with record numbers attending the launch of the Women’s A-League season.

Earlier this year, the Australian Women’s Soccer team, The Matildas, captured the nation in their record run to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Semi-Finals. Two months later, the longer-term impacts of the so-called ‘Matilda Effect’ are becoming evident in a massive win for the A-League Women (ALW) competition.

On Saturday, the 2023/2024 A-League Women season opened with a high-octane match between Central Coast and Newcastle that was attended by a record crowd of 5,735. That record was quickly broken back in Sydney, with 11,471 attending the Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers games at Allianz Stadium later in the day. Attendees at the Sydney match surpassed last year’s grand final game in which a crowd of 9,519 watched Sydney FC’s 4-0 win over Western United.

The first two games of the season alone had already broken the record for a single round in the history of the women’s league, with a further 7,927 turning up to watch Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams run out for Melbourne Victory in their game against Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

The spike in interest was far from unexpected, with the A-League’s focus on capitalising on the success of the Matilda’s run. This year, a free ticket scheme was introduced, with children under 16 being offered a free ticket to any ALW game of their choice. Several big-name Matildas players also returned to Australia to support the ALW season.

A Leagues commissioner, Nick Garcia, said that the growth of the sport and particularly the women’s game, is the result of a long period of hard work and dedication.  “Our plan for the FIFA Women’s World Cup started more than two years ago, and today, we have three new women’s teams in the league, a full home-and-away season of 22 rounds and an unprecedented 198% growth in memberships across the league,” he said.

“Playing the opening round in mostly major stadia was part of a strategy to create new experiences and connect with more fans, and we are delighted to see the round record broken on day one, in just two matches”.




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