Record crowd for Norway v England
Chelsea’s Maren Mjelde led her Norwegian womens’ team to a late 2-1 victory over the England Lionesses at Brann Stadium in Bergen on September 3rd. The friendly match attracted an impressive crowd of 10,830, almost doubling Norway’s previous attendance record of 5,500 set in Oslo.
The Lionesses took an early lead through a stunning goal by Georgia Stanway. In the second half Norway equalised via Frida Maanum of the Swedish side Linköping before Barcelona star Caroline Graham Hansen scored the late winning goal for Norway.
The Norwegian Football Association had chosen Brann Stadium as venue for the friendly match, and this turned out to be a wise choice. 10,830 people turned out for the match in Norway’s second largest city; achieving the biggest attendance for Norway’s international team by some margin.
In the Norwegian team, four of the players who started the match were from Bergen. Besides Chelsea’s Maren Mjelde they were Amalie Eikeland (Reading), Kristine Minde (VfL Wolfsburg) and Vilde Boe Risa (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC). The major local presence may have been part of the reason for the great interest in Bergen, but first and foremost it proves women’s football now is attracting huge crowds.
The popularity and quality will only increase
Lionesses’ coach Phil Neville visited Brann Stadium as Captain for Everton in the UEFA-cup in 2008, and was interviewed both about this match and the Norway v England match by Bergensavisen prior to the match. He gave this explanation for the great interest:
People have embraced women’s football now, for one simple reason: The quality has become much better. These are top athletes with the skills that people would like to see. And I don’t think we’ve reached the ceiling, I think the popularity and quality will only increase.
Three key reason for the success
Head of ticket sales at SK Brann, Mats Thorbjornsen, was in charge of ticket sales for the friendly match. He gave three key reason for the sales success:
- “We have seen a great interest from local sports clubs who have mobilised the whole club to attend this match.”
- “The National Football Association, the local football ministry, the local women’s teams and SK Brann have all been enthusiastic from the start.”
- “We have kept the prices low to make the match achievable for as many as possible, and we have offered group sales.”
Womens’ football is rightfully growing apace at international and club level and TicketCo looks forward to supporting its continued growth and success.