Last Wednesday, during the record-breaking UEFA Women’s Football Championship, the organizers celebrated one year since the start of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which is being held in ten stadiums in nine cities across Australia and New Zealand, two. Countries that will host the tournament for the first time.
Given the success of the previous edition in France, an occasion widely credited for displaying the commercial qualifications of women’s soccer to the wider sporting community, the hype already around next year’s event is understandable. However, the world in which Australia and New Zealand submitted their nomination documents to football’s world governing body at the end of 2019 was somewhat different than the world they would end up hosting the tournament.
Back in June 2020, the Trans Tasman show team learned that they had defeated Columbia to secure the hosting rights via a video call that was watched in the early hours from a small Sydney room. Since then, a lot of planning had to be done online, tours of the stadium were made virtually, and other flights were delayed due to the pandemic.
But with 12 months left until the event kicks off, Dave Beachy (pictured above), who was named CEO of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in June 2021, said, Sports Pro That the LOC is “really well positioned operationally and engaging” to deliver the tournament.
Lighting Australia/New Zealand. ✨
In one year, we’ll go # Beyond_Great!
– FIFA Women’s World Cup (FIFAWWC) 20 July 2022
“A challenge we really enjoy”
Several milestones have already been identified, such as the launch of an official logo for the tournament and the announcement of last year’s schedule, which included the news of the final being held at Australia’s 83,500-seater Sydney Stadium, which hosts the 2000 Olympic Games.
However, Beachy says he and his team are preparing for what he describes as a “huge program of work” in the run-up to the Women’s World Cup. A slew of stadium and training site upgrades are set to be completed before the event begins, while there is also a small matter of ticket sales, the finals draw, and a new ten-team playoff tournament taking place in New Zealand in February. To determine the last three points of the competition.
Beachy now oversees a local organizing committee of about 160 employees, and the scale of the operation probably reflects the fact that next year’s Women’s World Cup will be the biggest ever. The event in Australia and New Zealand will be the first iteration of the tournament hosted by two countries, while it will also be the inaugural 32-team edition after FIFA made a decision in 2019 to expand the event from 24 countries. . Beachy believes this will result in a “good mix” of established and new teams, including newcomers such as Morocco, Vietnam and the Philippines.
More broadly, those first things will create certain challenges, particularly in the Covid environment, but they also mean that women’s football will be shown in some of the region’s most iconic venues, including Auckland’s Eden Park, Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium and brand new Sydney. . football yard.
Australia Stadium in Sydney, which has a capacity of more than 80,000 spectators, will host next year’s final
“I think the capacity aspect of it is a massive championship win and it will mean that we can meet the demand that we can expect from the fan base for this,” Beachy says. “Bringing the two countries together is not easy at all. There are different cultural elements, different political elements, different elements from member federations, but through this graft of looking for how to unite this into one seamless tournament with similar service, it is part It’s a challenge, and it’s one we really enjoy.”
The ability to once again move freely between the two countries will undoubtedly make operations more efficient, but also the experience of both countries in hosting major international sporting events – not to mention a growing range of female sporting characteristics.
Australia has hosted the Women’s T20 World Cup and Commonwealth Games in recent years, and over the next decade is also set to welcome the Olympic Games, the two-time Rugby World Cup and the Netball World Cup, among many other things. Meanwhile, New Zealand has hosted the latest Women’s Cricket World Cup, and is preparing for the Women’s Rugby World Cup later this year.
The level of participation and support is not what I’ve seen before, in terms of wanting to make the most of the opportunity offered by hosting the world’s largest women’s sporting event.
Dave Beachy, CEO of the 2023 Women’s World Cup
According to Beshi, who himself has been well versed in the sports, events and tourism sectors since his stint at the helm of Oceania’s Iron Man, this experience means that there are “interesting paths” in dealing with government agencies, host cities and “all the people who rally around these championships to achieve.”
“What that means is that the fundamentals in terms of existing communication channels and groups that converge around things like safety and security from a government perspective are now in place. So what we can focus on is how we can leverage this tournament to make the most positive impact for each country – whether it’s social, economic, or all of those broader benefits that these tournaments can have.
“The timing of this [tournament] He is, in my opinion, great from a women’s sports perspective. Both countries have made public commitments about what they want to do for women’s sports. So I think the level of participation and support is not what I’ve seen before, in fact, in terms of wanting to make the most of the opportunity offered by hosting the largest women’s sporting event in the world.”
“The market is asking for it now.”
The scale of that opportunity is illustrated by the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, which FIFA says was watched by a combined 1.12 billion viewers across 205 regions, a number that is surely set to rise next year given the expanded schedule of 64 matches. A report also found that the tournament provided a €284 million (US$291 million) boost to the French economy as 1.2 million spectators flocked to the event, also highlighting what Australia and New Zealand stand to gain from hosting the tournament.
speaking during a Sports Pro Last year, Jane Fernandez, CEO of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia, said the event was on track to sell about 1.5 million tickets despite the impact of the pandemic. Commenting now, Beachy says he is “reasonably confident” that the number “will last”. FIFA has since announced that tickets will go on sale from 6 October, with prices starting at AUD/NZ$20 ($12.50) for adults and A$10/NZD ($6.20) for children.
Those organizing next year’s event will be buoyed by what they saw at the European Women’s Football Championship underway in England, where the tournament’s attendance record was broken before the competition reached the knockout stage. However, it should be said that Australia and New Zealand are distant locations, while the ongoing cost-of-living crisis in many parts of the world, along with continued caution about travel in the wake of Covid, may affect the number of international attendees.
However, Beachy says “initial indications are strong” and suggests that hosts will look to commercialize the fact that Australia and New Zealand are “wishlist destinations” for overseas audiences. It is also likely that there will be opportunities to attract spectators from Asia-Pacific countries.
“We have good metrics on early filings of interest,” Beachy continues. “One of the key things in the ticketing strategy is not to jump ahead in terms of tournament pricing and we want to make it as accessible as possible. It’s really a family market here, which might be a little different than some markets in Europe. Then we need to build around that to the big event followers. And then it’s passed on to sports fans in general, so it’s kind of the onion ring effect in terms of how to bring this to the market.
“But we are confident that we will go well. I think the markets of Australia and New Zealand will host this event and I think the mobile fan base for some of the stronger teams will grow this time. We expect a good number of people to come and watch some matches and then travel all over the other countries.” .
Beachy adds that the goal is to “turn off the lights” when it comes to KPIs related to audience and television audience, an achievement that will only increase investment in women’s football. This will also be the first edition of the Women’s World Cup where the tournament’s commercial rights are separated from its men’s counterpart, a decision that has already seen FIFA secure global sponsorship deals with Visa and small business management platform Xero.
In addition, FIFA’s new commercial structure allows brands to sign deals related to specific women’s tournaments, and Beachy says there is “strong interest from a local perspective” in partnership opportunities.
“FIFA can not only see this opportunity now and act on it, but the market is now demanding it,” notes Beachy, discussing the growing appeal of the Women’s World Cup as a stand-alone business show. “20 years ago it was put together as part of a rights package all centered around the Men’s World Cup. I think those days are gone and there is now a real appetite.
“There is still a journey to go on to embody the full scope of this opportunity. With 2023, we are taking a really big first step on that journey.”
The standard is 2019
The way the tournament is ultimately remembered likely stems from how it performed commercially compared to previous similar events. However, while France 2019 and Euro 2022 may set the standard for who will follow, Beachy says Australia and New Zealand are keen to put their own stamp on the tournament this time next year to ensure women’s football continues to grow outside their core markets.
Superstars like Australian Sam Kerr will play a major role in inspiring the next generation
While the major leagues have generated a valuable proposition for women’s football, one of the problems with the sport developing is that many players who do not compete in the most mature commercial leagues fall into obscurity in between. It is therefore increasingly important that the focus at these high-profile events is not only to deliver large numbers, but also to inspire interest and participation for long periods that will support the sport in the long run.
To this end, Beachy points out, the old plans have already been finalized, published, and delivered.
“It’s a question we think about a lot,” he notes when asked how much he and his team looked at the previous women’s soccer leagues while planning the 2023 trajectory. “Of course from our peers in Zurich, the benchmark is 2019, this was really the tipping point, and all the metrics were stunned. Everyone’s growth is perfect.
“But similarly, our markets here have their own unique characteristics. While football in a large number of countries in the world is the number one sport for spectators, it is not in our country. But we have a real opportunity on the participation base, because it is the number one sport from the perspective of participation.
“So the opportunity in this tournament is how we help elevate and continue to grow the game in terms of increasing its audience. And we have a real opportunity to do that.”