Euro 2022 success will help women’s football grow as 2027 World Cup bidding nears

Euro 2022 has yet to reach the semi-finals, but before the tournament reaches the last four next week it can already be considered an unqualified success. A sell-out of 85,000 at Wembley Stadium for the final on July 31st will only underscore how women’s football has now become a major player in world sport.

Nearly 70,000 viewers watched England’s opening game against Austria at Old Trafford earlier this month, 7.6 million viewers watched the live television broadcast of their quarter-final win over Spain, while 16,025 turned out in Brentford on Thursday to watch Germany defeat the Hosts embark on a 2-0 win over Austria.

Everyone involved in this competition so far has been a winner – the host country, the players, UEFA and the fans who have consistently broken attendance records to raise the bar to a whole new level.

But there is another big Euro 2022 winner and he has no involvement other than an interested observer. With a World Cup yet to be awarded in 2027, FIFA has seen its premier women’s competition become more attractive and valuable to potential hosts and sponsors alike thanks to the success of Euro 2022.

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The bid process for the 2027 World Cup is due to start this month and so far there has only been one confirmed bid – a tri-national bid involving Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. However, FIFA can expect the battle to host the 2027 event to become much more competitive given the growth in women’s football in recent years, borne out by England’s hosting of Euro 2022.

Big nations and sponsors who want to give their brand the best possible exposure always want to compete in major sporting tournaments and while the men’s World Cup will always be the jewel in FIFA’s crown, the women’s competition has now earned its place as a competition and platforms , which arouse great interest. Waiting until after Euro 2022 to start the bid process in 2027, FIFA can now expect a number of high-quality bidders.

The United States Soccer Association is considering a bid, with USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone telling Frontrowsoccer.com last month that the reigning world champions are definitely planning a 2027 or 2031 bid.

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For a country already co-hosting the men’s World Cup in 2026 and then preparing to host the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, the ambition to also bid for the 2027 women’s World Cup underscores the appeal of the tournament.

England, who have dropped their bid to host the men’s World Cup in 2030, could still host in 2027 but sources have told ESPN that Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are already gaining favor as UEFA bid to campaign for the Alignment 2031 might be the most appropriate option. However, there is definitely interest in hosting the World Cup in England.

Senior football officials in Chile, Mexico and Italy have expressed interest in taking part in the 2027 race, and South Africa is also considering a bid, using the stadiums built for the 2010 Men’s World Cup as the basis of their campaign.

Whoever is involved in the race, FIFA now has an opportunity to build on Euro 2022 and take women’s football to another level in the years to come.

The last World Cup, France 2019, was a clear success with an average attendance of 21,756 during the tournament. 57,000 spectators turned out to see the USA defeat the Netherlands in the final in Lyon to claim their fourth and second consecutive world title.

Official figures show that a total of 1.1 billion viewers worldwide tuned in to watch the tournament, although women’s football had already experienced a huge boost in awareness and prestige before 2019, so the number will continue to rise.

With next year’s World Cup being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, women’s football faces the challenge of maintaining its global momentum due to time zone issues in the US and Europe, but also because the tournament runs from July 20th to August 20th will therefore collide with the start of the major men’s leagues in Europe and deprive the competition of the space to dominate the sporting landscape.

But Euro 2022 has cemented the existing fanbase and attracted a new one, so the appetite for next year’s games will be there, whether they’re played in the middle of the night for a European television audience.

FIFA has already expanded the next World Cup to a 32-team tournament in 2023 to reflect the growth of women’s football, but the desire to host 2027 will be another indicator that the sport is establishing itself as one that is expanding its audience an exhilarating pace.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/uefa-womens-european-championship/story/4704811/euro-2022-success-will-help-womens-football-grow-as-2027-world-cup-bidding-nears Euro 2022 success will help women’s football grow as 2027 World Cup bidding nears

Emma Bowman

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