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Arsenal’s supporters playing huge role in growing women’s game

Jonas Eidevall says Arsenal’s fanatical support has played a part in helping to not only keep and attract the world’s best players in north London but also grow the women’s game as a whole.

The Gunners broke the WSL attendance record on the opening day of the season and have sold out their allocation of away tickets on multiple occasions.

Growth has not happened overnight for Arsenal, but they continue to attract crowds at a far greater rate than their WSL rivals, thanks largely to their prominent marketing strategy.

Eidevall admits that the support has positively impacted his side’s ability to win games, while Arsenal are reaping the economic benefit of ticket sales while the lucrativeness of competition prize money remains at a relatively low level.

“When you see the growth in women’s football, attendance figures is perhaps the most important growth factor,” he said. “The reality is there is not a prize money structure yet in the European competitions that give you a huge advantage. It still covers your expenses and not more. But it is a giant leap to going from selling 4,000 tickets to 60,000.

“That is a huge, huge leap which grows revenue, which enables sustainability and investing into the team and giving you more sporting success. That should be able to generate more attendance.”

Arsenal registered attendances of 5,397, 6,592 and 7,711 for their three Champions League group stage games last season, while WSL counterparts Chelsea attracted just 3,450 supporters for their 4-1 win over Paris FC on Thursday night. Down in Southampton, Arsenal’s supporters were contributing to a record crowd of 13,438 for their Conti Cup tie with the Championship club.

“The interest we have around the team is great, as a club, like we are doing, we need to capitalise on that and make sure that is one of the things that makes Arsenal stand out compared to our competitors,” Eidevall continued.

“We should really generate momentum and as a foundation to drive sporting success in a way that our competitors, at the moment, cannot do.”

The Swede added his belief that the swathe of support Arsenal receive has helped convince the likes of Beth Mead, Kim Little, Caitlin Foord, Frida Maanum, Jen Beattie and Katie McCabe to sign new contracts – the Swede extended his own deal with the club earlier this season by for a further three years.

“Everyone that is part of this Arsenal team, we feel that support and we feel that special bond, and we’re so grateful for having it.

“It is linked, the mentality of the team and the support we get from the fans. That we are able to turn games around late, they play a massive part in that. The atmosphere of the fans and the support they give us, they never, ever stop believing. They never stop singing.

“If they had the mentality of turning their back on the team in the 80th minute because they don’t have the result they like, that will be a self fulfilling prophecy.

“That bond is getting stronger and it helps us on the pitch because the fans are amazing. They are true supporters, They are a huge part of us being able to win seven games in a row.”

Lia Walti

Lia Walti committed her future to Arsenal in part because of the club’s supporters / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Eidevall’s words echo those of midfielder Lia Walti, who recently told 90min that one of the key reasons for her spurning offers from other European clubs was because of the dedication of the supporters.

“I came here like five, six seasons ago and we barely sold out Meadow Park so it is incredible how the support is growing and how people are coming to our away games. “That was also one of the main reasons why I really wanted to stay here to be part of that club because you can just feel that as a player, women’s football has a high priority.”

Arsenal could break the WSL attendance record once more when they take on champions Chelsea on December 10 at the Emirates Stadium – a side they haven’t been in the league since the opening day of the 2021/22 season.

Eidevall concluded “We should sell out, it’s a great game, we are already 50,000 sold, don’t miss out, buy a ticket, bring a friend or family member and let’s get a sellout for the first time in our WSL history.

“This is a great occasion and everyone should be pushing for that.”

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