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The determinants of stadium attendance in elite women’s football: Evidence from the UEFA Women's Champions League

Valenti, Maurizio and Scelles, Nicolas and Morrow, Stephen (2019) The determinants of stadium attendance in elite women’s football: Evidence from the UEFA Women's Champions League. Sport Management Review. ISSN 1441-3523

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Abstract

Women’s football struggles to build a solid platform in terms of fan interest. However, while an increase in gate receipts can help assist its long-term sustainability, there is limited evidence in the academic literature on the factors influencing spectator demand in women’s football. The authors investigate determinants of stadium attendance for UEFA Women's Champions League (UWCL) matches. Using regression models deployed on 554 UWCL games played between 2009/10 and 2017/18, the authors examine contextual and sport-related variables as the main predictors of stadium attendance. Findings show that there is no continuous growth of attendance over the period examined, and highlight that spectators’ interest is positively associated with five factors: stage of the competition, uncertainty of match outcome, competitive intensity, away club’s reputation and weather conditions. Football governing bodies should put in place initiatives to ensure match outcome uncertainty is maintained as this represents a key determinant to maximise stadium attendance. Based on the specific context of European women’s football, recommendations to foster its development are discussed. These include incentivising investment into the elite women’s game and designing sport policies to encourage participation at grassroots levels.

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