Record numbers watch Barclays FA Women’s Super League kick-off

06 September 2019

Record crowds turned up to watch the kick-off of the 2019/2020 Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

More than 30,000 fans packed into the Etihad for the Manchester Derby - the previous record was 5,265, set last season at the Amex Stadium in Brighton.

Chelsea also saw a 24,000-strong crowd as they took on Spurs at Stamford Bridge. Barclays were there to put fans in player’s shoes, enabling them to recreate the 'walk-in' clips used to introduce players on TV. 

Barclays research recently found that 34% of British adults say they are now fans of the women’s game..

The popularity of women’s football hit new heights over the summer with England’s Lionesses reaching the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup. A record 11.7 million tuned in to see their heart-breaking semi-final defeat to the USA. Nearly a third (28%) of people surveyed said they had become fans of women’s football as a result of following the tournament.

Barclays, which recently announced its record-breaking sponsorship of the Women’s Super League (WSL) – the largest ever commercial investment in women’s sport in the UK – has commissioned research which highlights changing attitudes at a pivotal moment in the game.

Demonstrating the growing awareness of and excitement around women’s football, 69% of the 2,000 adults questioned said they believe the women’s game deserves the same profile as the men’s.

Arsenal  lifting the Women's Super League trophy

Arsenal won the Women's Super League last season

And that enthusiasm is reflected in those turning up at the turnstiles with record-breaking attendances confirmed over the weekend.

The stars of the BFAWSL now have an even bigger audience for the season, with the FA announcing that match coverage will be broadcast internationally for the first time. Audiences in Scandinavia and Central America can now tune in to the game many have grown to love.

There is still progress to be made. Barclays research found that men are still more likely to watch a women’s game than women are and, of those surveyed, 31% had attended a Premier League match compared to only 1% who had been to a Women’s Super League game.

Barclays and the Women’s Super League

In tandem with its historic investment in the women’s game, Barclays is supporting the FA’s work to help give all girls the same access to football in school as boys by 2024.

Tom Corbett, Barclays Global Head of Sponsorship and Media, said: “We have started that process by supporting The FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships that aims to use 100 hubs around the country to enable schools to put girls’ football on the curriculum. With a successful professional game and equal opportunities for girls at the grassroots level, we can change the perception over time so that the national game is for everyone.”

Barclays has produced a film to mark the start of the new Barclays FA Women’s Super League season and land their #AllToPlayFor hashtag. 

Long-term support for football

Barclays’ partnership with the FA Premier League has strengthened over the past two decades. In 2001, sponsorship of the Barclaycard Premiership was announced; Barclays remains the league’s Official Banking Partner until the end of the 2021-2022 season.

Barclays’ investment in the women’s game allows the WSL to, for the first time, offer a guaranteed prize fund of £500,000 with £100,000 going to the league champions.

The Barclays FA Women’s Super League is the first in Europe to go fully-professional and with excitement around the game at an all-time high, it’s #AllToPlayFor.