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Women’s Sports Surge Continues As NWSL Sets Attendance Records

  • The NWSL set attendance records in back-to-back playoff games on Sunday.
  • The league smashed its regular season attendance record in 2022.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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The Kansas City Current ousted the Houston Dash in Sunday’s NWSL playoffs quarterfinal in front of the biggest crowd in the league’s postseason history. 

That record lasted just five hours.

While the afternoon match drew 21,284 fans to Houston’s PNC Stadium, the evening’s quarterfinal game at San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium — in which the Wave beat the Chicago Red Stars — drew 26,215.

  • Last month, Snapdragon set the record for best-attended regular-season NWSL game with 32,000 fans.
  • The league drew a total of 1,042,063 fans during the 2022 regular season, an average of 7,894 per game.
  • The total smashes the 10-year-old league’s previous record of 792,409, set in 2019.

Brand Play

The Wave’s Alex Morgan, who scored the team’s game-winning goal on Sunday, had 27 endorsement deals in 2022 — more than any NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, or NHL athlete, according to SponsorUnited.

Morgan is part of a trend: Endorsement deals with women’s teams and leagues grew 21% year-over-year in 2022. Deals with individual athletes rose 18%.

Women have also flexed their earning power through the rise of NIL deals for college athletes. While football has dominated the NIL landscape with 49.6% of all deals as of September, women’s basketball was third among all categories with 12.6%.

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