Ahead of our record-breaking North London Derby, Jonas Eidevall spoke about the importance of sustainable growth when it comes to increased WSL attendances.
The growth of the women's game has become exponential since England's Lionesses hosted and won this year's European Championships. In grounds across the country for the opening weekend of the Women's Super League season, that increased interest seems to have crossed over into club football.
For Eidevall, it's not just about the number of people inside Emirates Stadium: it's imperative that everyone attending on Saturday paid to be there.
"Remember, it’s 50,000 sold tickets! It’s not giveaways, it’s not sold for a discounted price: it’s sold tickets. I think that’s really, really special because doing this in the way that the club has done it, means it’s sustainable.
"It shows that the interest is for real and the investment that we have as a team, but also what all the past generations and past teams before us have done to put us onto this stage here. It’s phenomenal, so we feel that we want to go out and make the most of it so it can happen again more frequently."
With sold tickets for the North London Derby at Emirates Stadium having now passed the 50,000 mark, it's an impressive feat to aim to replicate. Yet Eidevall is confident that our approach will set us up for a long-term future.
"It is so important for growing the game to make sure that these occasions as not one-offs. I think that's what the club has really shown in this situation. For them, it has not been just about providing as many people as possible for this game by, for example, giving away tickets. Instead, we have promoted the game in a sustainable way.
"If you're doing that, then I think the chances increase that you can repeat it again because of course, it's not going to be a sustainable solution to give away tickets for games. Let's be honest, football clubs need revenues and ticket sales are important for revenues," he added.
When asked if higher attendances would affect player performance, Eidevall made it clear that our squad is used to playing in front of thousands on the biggest stages: "They have [played in front of big crowds] before. We’ve been to the FA Cup final which was a similar attendance, they’ve been playing with high attendance figures with the national teams, and many of them in the squad were playing in the north London derby two seasons ago that has the current WSL record.
"For us, it’s not something that we do every weekend, but it’s not new for us. We have experienced that and we are looking forward to it again."
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