‘A chance to rewrite the ticketing rule book’ – how women’s sport can build on record interest

Ticketing records have been smashed at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Now, as viagogo global managing director Cris Miller argues, women’s sport has a prime opportunity to capitalise by taking an innovative approach to ticketing strategies enhance distribution and satisfy demand.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand has provided an irresistible snapshot of the growth potential of women’s sport when it is accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

Records have tumbled from day one, with the big kick-off bringing the news that the tournament’s previous ticket sales record of 1.35 million – for the 2015 edition in Canada – had already been surpassed.

On the opening day, Australia versus the Republic of Ireland drew 75,784 fans – the largest crowd for a women’s national team game down under – while the 42,137 attendance for New Zealand’s clash with Norway established a new yardstick for women’s and men’s football in the country. This year’s tournament was expected to attract a cumulative worldwide audience of about two billion viewers – nearly double the total for the 2019 edition in France.

Ticketing marketplace viagogo has witnessed the global interest in the event first-hand, with fans from 75 countries buying tickets on their platform.

“Interest in elite women’s sport leagues and competitions is growing fast – the 2023 Women’s World Cup is proof of that,” viagogo global managing director Cris Miller says. “The ongoing challenge is to convert the mass global interest in mass global events, such as the Women’s World Cup, into domestic leagues where clubs have far smaller budgets and are competing for attendance against many other sports events.”

Marketing and distribution

According to Miller, this is where viagogo’s marketing capabilities can supercharge growth, with the platform’s partners able to leverage a vast global audience that has access to 50 million event listings in 40 languages across 195 countries.

Simultaneously, Miller argues that marketplaces like viagogo offer flexibility for fans in terms of buying and selling at a price that suits them through a safe and secure platform. It is worth noting that whilst the average ticket purchase price on viagogo has been $95 (£75/€87) for the Women’s World Cup, the platform has sold tickets across 18 of the tournament’s games for less than $20 – lower than the face value for the event’s cheapest standard adult ticket.

“viagogo and the secondary market exists for the fans, but creates huge value for the sports industry by becoming an additional distribution channel, supplementing the efforts of event owners, venues, promoters and clubs to reach more event goers,” Miller says.

This additional distribution channel can be vital for emerging and growing women’s sports clubs and competitions that are keen to engage new followers.

“If you’re a sports team with limited resources or capability, or you have technology that is more focused on operations than it is on marketing, we can be a very effective partner to help drive fans, who then become part of your ecosystem,” Miller explains. “We have relationships with more than 200 million live event attendees processed every year. On top of that, we spend millions marketing events on our platform to connect fans with the tickets they crave.”

Power of data

Data represents an essential ingredient for establishing those connections – particularly in women’s sport, where it is increasingly recognised that a unique audience is ready to be engaged.

According to research by the UK-based Women’s Sport Trust, 8.4 million people watched Women’s Super League games in 2022 – and not men’s Premier League action. Also last year, 1.8 million watched the Uefa Women’s Euros but not the men’s FIFA World Cup, while 1.5 million only watched the Women’s Hundred cricket tournament and 1.3 million only watched women’s games at the Rugby League World Cup.

Additionally, various studies have shown that women drive between 65% and 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions, underscoring the value of a female audience.

“The most valuable benefit for our official partners is the first-party data and customer insights we are able to provide. This gives teams and competition organisers an opportunity to better understand fans and their behaviours, opening up significant marketing and revenue generation opportunities far beyond the value of the ticket sold,” Miller adds.

“The data and insight that we garner from people who purchased tickets for the Women’s World Cup enables us to segment and target consumers who we know have a history of engaging with events of relevance to our partners. This can be incredibly powerful in helping to drive greater revenues.”


Perhaps unsurprisingly, fans from the United States have accounted for 70% of tickets sold onexpenditure viagogo for the Women’s World Cup.

The US went into the tournament as favourites for a third successive triumph, and North American National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) ticket sales on viagogo have rocketed by 150% over the past year.

Some 250 seats are snapped up through the platform on average for every Angel City FC home game, ensuring games featuring the NWSL’s most popular club can be enjoyed by thousands more people than would have otherwise been possible over a season.

Other women’s sports properties have also generated a sharp rise in interest via viagogo with, for instance, Women’s NBA basketball league ticket sales up by 75% versus August 2022.

“Increasing access to tickets through an additional distribution channel drives higher attendances, which inevitably lead to better atmospheres and more appealing spectacles,” Miller says. “This, in turn, helps to fuel interest in coverage, more lucrative commercial partnership and media-rights fees, as well as a boost to sales of food, drink and merchandise.”

Countering no-shows

More immediately, resale platforms also mitigate the ticketing no-shows conundrum. Despite the unquestionable popularity of the Women’s World Cup, rows of empty seats have been visible at several ‘sold-out’ matches – including Australia’s clash with Nigeria.

Empty seats represent a missed opportunity to engage new fans – and as women’s sport continues to gain momentum worldwide, such an issue highlights the challenge of optimising accessibility to unmissable events that capture the imagination.

“The governing bodies, federations and owners of women’s sport properties have a massive opportunity to rewrite the rule book and create a new model with fans at the very centre, and ticketing playing a crucial role,” Miller says.

“Sport talks a lot about putting the fan at the heart of the proposition, but it rarely lives up to that promise. It’s exciting to imagine a world where the access to tickets is more equitable and the clubs realise the long-term benefit over short-term wins.

“By increasing availability and distribution capability, organisations can help future-proof their sports in so many ways: more marketing, a bigger audience, greater sales, increased data and insights.”