Friday 04 August 2023, 01:30

Sarai Bareman hails game-changing FIFA Women’s World Cup™

  • FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer delighted with the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™

  • Attendance and broadcast records have already been broken in the Group Stage

  • Highly competitive games have made this a tournament to remember

Reflecting on the recently completed Group Stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, FIFA’s Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman could not help but marvel at what she has seen so far. The 2023 edition has delivered on all fronts: competitive matches, new names reaching the knock-out phase and record-breaking milestones off the field. While headlines and fan conversations have been heavily driven by the performance of debutants such as Morocco, Philippines, Zambia and Portugal, they have been equally driven by the early departures of heavyweights such as Brazil and Germany. Altogether, these cumulative achievements have been a genuine game-changer.

“This tournament has been incredible: I have cried so many times during this tournament with emotion. The Morocco team qualifying for the Round of 16, South Africa going through, and Nigeria. I can’t name all the amazing moments,” said Bareman. “The opening match in Auckland at Eden Park, the city I grew up in, was a goosebumps moment. The opening ceremony…seeing the two cultures coming together and then New Zealand becoming the first ever Oceania team to win a World Cup match. There have been so many moments and I feel so privileged to be part of this; to be going to these matches and part of this moment in time.” There is a sense of satisfaction that this FIFA Women’s World Cup™ will impact those watching for years to come. Ticket sales in 2023 have already surpassed the total attendance at France 2019™ with 1,715,000 tickets sold so far.

“All the investment that we have been making into women’s football over the past four years is justified by the interest, the number of fans, and the viewership all over the world” continued Bareman. “It’s so meaningful to all the people who work in women’s football daily to see new fans coming in. This is a new generation who are going to grow up, not seeing men’s football or women’s football: just football. That’s exactly what we’ve been trying to do: to bring the women’s game into the mainstream. Now it’s happening, it’s so cool!” It’s not just fans in the stadiums who are watching. Broadcast audiences across the world have been breaking records, ensuring the tournament has a truly global impact.

Australia fans show their support

“The viewership figures have been incredible: we’ve been breaking records in broadcast viewership almost on a daily basis,” said Bareman. “What that tells me is that we were justified in our fight to commercialise this FIFA Women’s World Cup and to demand more from our broadcasters. When you see those numbers, it just shows you this is a beautiful commercial product and deserves to be recognised as such.” According to Bareman, all these achievements and milestones point to one thing: that the game is changing. In time, the 2023 edition will prove to be a turning point. “This FIFA Women’s World Cup™ is a game-changer. In 10 years, we will all look back on this as fans, as administrators, as players, as people involved in this sport and say: that was the moment it all changed,” continued Bareman. “For fans to feel connected, it’s going to mean that they become lifelong fans of our sport. Their kids will be, and the next generations of their family will be as well.”