Many Women's World Cup matches are far from selling out — and people think FIFA is to blame

  • Live casts of the Women’s World Cup soccer matches showed empty stadiums.
  • Fans viewing at home noticed the rather thin crowds during both women’s games.
  • People think it has something to do with the way the games were promoted on social media, with ticket sales overplayed.
  • Others think it has something to do with a lack of promotions on the ground in Nice, France.
  • On Wednesday FIFA withdrew a claim that 1 million tickets had been sold.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

This week, people around the world tuned in to watch live streams of the Women’s World Cup. But something stuck out: the empty stadium seats in the background.

People think FIFA’s social media strategy ahead of the women’s matches may be to blame for the empty seats and lack to ticket sales, according to the Associated Press.

On May 3, one month ahead of the event, FIFA tweeted that “you can still buy tickets for a few matches.”

Instead of encouraging sales, this tweet may have deterred them.

In a June 11 news release, FIFA announced that 14 out of the 52 Women’s World Cup matches had sold out. FIFA also claimed that over 1 million tickets had been sold, but that there were still tickets available or over 30 matches in the tournament even a week before it was supposed to begin.

On Wednesday it withdrew that claim, saying instead that that figure also included “delegations of the teams playing, commercial affiliates, observers, medical and technical staff,” according to the Associated Press.

Prior to that, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that 20 of the 52 matches had been sold out.

Jim White, a writer for the Telegraph, remarked that something felt off in France, the tournament’s host country, when he arrived for the event on Monday.

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“To arrive in Nice is to do well to know there is any tournament going on here,” he wrote. “Along the promenade there are no banners on the palm trees, there is no welcoming signage at the airport, at the station those coming in from Paris are hardly assailed with the news they have alighted in a World Cup host city. Compared to the bombastic commercial takeover that accompanies the men’s edition it is almost as if Fifa are embarrassed to be here.”

In the first two days of the tournament, only two games were at max capacity: France vs South Korea played in Paris, and Brazil’s match against Jamaica in Grenoble.

At-home viewers have noticed.

For what it’s worth, if the stadiums have been empty, people have been tuning in around the world to watch the games. In the UK, 6.1 million television viewers tuned into the England vs Scotland match. Meanwhile, 10.9 million viewers in France watched the country play South Korea.

And more Americans than ever before are watching the games – no doubt in part due to the US Women’s National Team.

Men’s games have hardly fared better. When there were more empty seats than expected at the men’s Uruguay vs Egypt match in Russia in 2018, officials weren’t sure what to blame.

“Current attendance doesn’t reflect the number of allocated tickets can be due to different factors, which FIFA is currently investigating,” a FIFA spokesperson told The Telegraph at the time.

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