It has been a blockbuster month of football that has captivated the world in a way that hasn’t been seen before in women’s sport.
For the first time in FIFA Women’s World Cup (FWWC) history, 32 nations competed on the international stage. It was also the first time the tournament has been held in the southern hemisphere, and the first time that the event has been co-hosted by two countries – Australia and New Zealand.
Melbourne was one of the nine host cities across Australia and New Zealand, with six matches held at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (AAMI Park), and teams from Canada, Jamaica and Morocco based across Melbourne during the tournament.
After a thrilling tournament, Spain took home their first ever women’s World Cup with a 1-0 defeat against England in the final.
But, it’s our Matildas who won the nation’s heart.
Before the Matildas had even taken to the pitch for this World Cup, sales of their official jersey had exceeded those of the Socceroos, our men’s team, both during and after the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar.
That’s not the only record smashed during the FWWC. A record 1,715,000 tickets were sold throughout the tournament, and the penalty shootout between the Matildas and France was the longest in World Cup history.
The Australia vs England semi-final game was watched on Seven by an average of 7.13 million viewers, making it the most watched television program in Australia since OzTam audience recording began in 2001.
There were also hundreds of thousands of people who gathered to watch in stadiums, pubs and outdoor screens like Federation Square across the country. Additional sites were set up at iconic Melbourne sporting grounds AAMI Park and even shown before an AFL match at the MCG.
Melbourne’s six matches consisted of four group games and two exciting Round of 16 fixtures all held at the newly updated AAMI Park stadium.
Fans absolutely loved the atmosphere thanks to a $25.15 million investment from the Victorian Government. The upgrades included state-of-the-art LED sport lights – enabling bigger and better light sequences during matches – and 205 square metres of new LED screens across two curved videoboards and entrance signage, ensuring fans could watch the action from every corner of the stadium.
The Victorian Government has made substantial infrastructure and policy investment to support the growth of football in Victoria, helping to provide women and girls with the facilities they need to train and compete at the grassroots and elite levels.
One of Victoria’s own and former Victorian Institute of Sport scholarship holder vice-captain Steph Catley scored a goal against Canada in the group stage and played every minute of the tournament.
A $57.29 million centre of excellence was unveiled ahead of the tournament that will transform women’s football in Victoria, helping to grow our future female football superstars – the new Home of The Matildas at La Trobe University Sports Park Precinct in Bundoora.
The Matildas raved about the facilities when they trained out of their new home in their lead up to the World Cup, as did the Jamaican team who used the facility during the tournament.
Designed by women, for women, our investment in the Home of The Matildas is supporting the growth of elite female sport, providing a long-term home for the Matildas at all levels and state of the art facilities to support women’s football in Victoria.
Teams from Canada and Morocco were also based across Melbourne during the tournament.
Morocco trained at Galvin Park Reserve in Werribee where we’ve invested more than $4.2 million to support infrastructure upgrades including $1 million for the construction of a new soccer pavilion.
Canada trained at Olympic Park in Heidelberg where the Victorian Government has invested $8.1 million to support infrastructure upgrades including the construction of a multiuse synthetic pitch to accommodate 2 mini-roos pitches and a junior soccer pitch, female friendly change facilities, reconstruction of main soccer pitch, lighting and small training/warm up area.
The tournament and the Matildas have exemplified the huge growth trajectory of women’s elite sport, and what’s possible when sponsors invest in women’s sport, and women’s sport is made more visible.
The Value of You Can Be What You Can See report was released ahead of the World Cup, to quantify the value of investing in women’s elite sport. It showed corporate supporters of Australian women’s sport are benefitting from more than $650 million in customer value annually.
The report found the sponsorships of women’s elite sporting properties outperform men’s elite sporting properties across brand awareness, brand consideration and customer conversion.
For every dollar a corporate sponsor invests into the visibility of women’s elite sport, they realise, on average, $7.29 in customer value.
The future is looking bright for upcoming football superstars following the recent announcement from the Federal Government of a $200 million investment. The Play Our Way grants program will promote equal access, build more suitable facilities, and support grassroots initiatives to get women and girls to engage, stay, and participate in sport throughout their lives.
The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup brought global visibility to elite women’s football, creating a lasting legacy for the game across Australia, New Zealand and around the world.
There have been some massive moments for the Aussies across the tournament that will go down in history. From Cortnee Vine scoring the winning goal in the quarter-final penalty shootout against France, to Sam Kerr scoring the longest goal of the World Cup against England in the semi-final from 29 metres out - the Matildas have made an enormous impact on women’s sport across Victoria and the world.
Lets keep this momentum going for generations to come.