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Women's Champions League attendances still surging upward

There is no better indication that the UEFA Women's Champions League is capturing the public imagination than the spectacular rise in attendances in the 2022/23 campaign.

Some of the record crowd at Arsenal for their semi-final second leg
Some of the record crowd at Arsenal for their semi-final second leg Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Three of the biggest crowds in the history of the UEFA Women's Champions League have attended games in this season's competition, but the widespread rise in attendances has been even more impressive as the campaign reaches its conclusion.

Average attendances*

2022/23 10,800 – (total 648,028 from 60 games)
2021/22 9,043 – (total 551,578 from 61 games)
2018/19 5,000 – (total 144,995 from 29 games)

*Last-16 stage onward (group stage from 2021/22, two-legged round of 16 previously)

Last season, over 90,000 attended Barcelona's quarter-final and semi-final games and, while the figures were lower for the equivalent games at the Camp Nou in 2022/23, the overall attendance for the competition is still up dramatically. With the final at PSV Stadion now sold out, with a capacity not far off 35,000 to come, the cumulative total is on course to pass 680,000 for the season, group stage to final.

The 60,063 that watched Wolfsburg's thrilling semi-final second-leg win at Arsenal on Monday smashed the previous high for a women's club game in England, and the average attendance per match in the competition is now pushing 11,000, an unprecedented figure in women's club football. Last term, the first under the new 16-team group stage format, the average was just over 9,000, in itself a huge leap from 5,000 in 2018/19 for the knockout round of 16 onward; there were pandemic restrictions in 2019/20 and 2020/21.

Biggest Women's Champions League crowds this season

72,262 – Barcelona vs Chelsea, semi-final second leg, Barcelona
60,063 – Arsenal vs Wolfsburg, semi-final second leg, London
– Barcelona vs Roma, quarter-final second leg, Barcelona
46,967 – Barcelona vs Bayern, group stage, Barcelona
39,454 – Roma vs Barcelona, quarter-final second leg, Rome
28,720 – Barcelona vs Rosengård, group stage, Barcelona
27,697 – Chelsea vs Barcelona, semi-final second leg, London
24,000 – Bayern vs Barcelona, group stage, Munich
22,617 – Wolfsburg vs Arsenal, semi-final first leg, Wolfsburg
21,307 – Arsenal vs Bayern, quarter-final second leg, London

In all five of the competition's all-time top ten crowds have been recorded this season, and looks like being six after the Eindhoven final. As well as the British record at Arsenal, Roma already set a new Italian women's club best in the quarter-finals.

There have been ten crowds of above 20,000 (with only 17 in total before this season), courtesy of clubs including Bayern, Chelsea and Wolfsburg as well as Arsenal, Barcelona and Roma. The scheduling of most of the group stage when men's domestic football had a break for the FIFA World Cup also brought a large increase in crowds, as did the use of clubs' main stadiums. There have been similar attendance records set in women's domestic leagues this season while 83,132 were at Wembley for the Women's Finalissima last month.

UEFA managing director of women's football Nadine Kessler said: "The UEFA Women's Champions League is setting new standards, not just for European women's club football, but women's club sport across the world. Following on from a record-breaking Women's EURO in England, fans are flocking to see the stars of the game in club action, and in the Champions League what was once a novelty, with teams using the main stadiums for a one-off big occasion, is now pretty much the norm, and has gone from an aspiration to almost an expectation.

"Now we can look forward to what will be a sold-out UEFA Women's Champions League final in Eindhoven with many fans travelling from abroad as well. It will be a wonderful venue for the highlight of the season."

All-time biggest Women's Champions League crowds

91,648 – Barcelona vs Wolfsburg, 2021/22 semi-final first leg, Barcelona
– Barcelona vs Real Madrid, 2021/22 quarter-final second leg, Barcelona
72,262 – Barcelona vs Chelsea, 2022/23 semi-final second leg, Barcelona
60,063 – Arsenal vs Wolfsburg, 2022/23 semi-final second leg, London
– Barcelona vs Roma, 2022/23 quarter-final second leg, Barcelona
– Lyon vs Frankfurt, 2011/12 final, Munich
46,967 – Barcelona vs Bayern, 2022/23 group stage, Barcelona
43,255 – Paris Saint-Germain vs Lyon, 2021/22 semi-final second leg, Paris
– Roma vs Barcelona, 2022/23 quarter-final second leg, Rome
32,257 – Barcelona vs Lyon, 2021/22 final, Turin

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