BRISBANE: Ticket sales are nearing 1.6 million for the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after surpassing pre-tournament targets and FIFA revised record expectations.
The previous record was around 1.35 million who attended a 52-game tournament in Canada in 2015. The 2023 edition has been expanded to 32 teams and will include 64 matches.
Football's international governing body said a combined 547,713 fans attended the first 21 games across Australia and New Zealand. The revised total target of 1.5 million was surpassed on Monday.
FIFA said the average of 26,802 per game to that point was a 48 per cent increase from France 2019, where the average after 21 games was 18,068. It did not give a breakdown for Australia and New Zealand.
The opening games on July 20 set records for women's football matches in both co-host countries. The crowd at New Zealand's upset win over Norway last week set a new national mark of 42,137. Australia's 1-0 over Ireland later that day attracted 75,784 at Stadium Australia.
A week later, more than 49,000 people attended the Matildas' upset 3-2 loss to Nigeria in Brisbane.
Ahead of England's Group D game against Denmark in Sydney on Friday, FIFA said more than 150,000 people had attended designated fan festivals in host cities across Australia and New Zealand across the first week of the tournament.
According to FIFA, TV ratings are also high despite the time zone differences to major Northern Hemisphere markets.
In France, an average audience of 3.43 million viewers watched France's 0-0 draw with Jamaica last Sunday. That was higher than all live matches from the 2011 and 2015 editions broadcast in France, except for a 4.12 million audience for France's quarterfinal against Germany eight years ago.
In the U.S., FIFA said an average audience of 6.26 million viewers watched the defending champion U.S. team's opening 3-0 win over Vietnam across all channels.
In Colombia, more than 9 million viewers watched the country's opening match against South Korea, a record for a Women's World Cup match in the territory.