Manchester United have made more tickets available for the club’s first home game of the 2022/23 WSL season against Reading to meet demand in the wake of England’s success at Euro 2022.
The Lionesses captured the imagination of a nation during July as they secured England’s first major international silverware – male or female – in 56 years.
The BBC recorded an astonishing 17.4m peak television audience for the final on BBC One and an additional 5.9m online streams. Many more people also watched the game in public spaces.
Desperate to quench their thirst for more women’s football, fans also waited for hours in online queue on Tuesday for tickets to England’s glamour friendly against the United States at Wembley in October and that level of interest is also translating in to the club game.
Google searches for ‘WSL tickets’ spiked 400% within just 24 hours of England’s triumph, with United in particular boasting Lionesses heroes Ella Toone, Alessia Russo and Mary Earps.
United play home games at the 12,000-capacity Leigh Sports Village but usually only open the stadium’s west and south stand for fans. Last season’s average attendance across the 10 WSL games played there (excluding the fixture at Old Trafford) was 1,900.
United attendances were typically stronger before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, with fans not returning in the same numbers once restrictions were dropped last summer. Just one of the club’s four highest attendances at Leigh have come since 2019.
But the sudden huge surge in WSL interest has resulted in United having no more availability in the either of the usual stands for their home game against Reading on 17 September and opting to start opening up Leigh’s east stand for fans to keep buying tickets.
It could potentially see the club set a new home record at Leigh Sports Village, which remains the 4,835 that came for the first ever home game, also against Reading, back in August 2018.
The club’s biggest ever home attendance is 20,241 from facing Everton at Old Trafford in March.
On this edition of 90min Talks: Gemma Davison, Girls on the Ball & Ali Rampling join us to discuss England’s historic victory.
Leigh hosted four games at Euro 2022, with attendance growing from 5,902 for Portugal vs Switzerland at the start of the group stage to over 7,500 for the quarter-final that was held there between Sweden and Belgium.