Football Australia chief executive James Johnson says Australia’s early enthusiasm for the Women’s World Cup sends “the right signal” to FIFA as his organisation eyes off bringing further events down under.
Johnson has hinted FA would like to bring the men’s 2034 World Cup to Australia and they have also discussed bidding for the recently-expanded Club World Cup.
He said the keenness with which Australians had embraced co-hosting this year’s tournament with New Zealand stood Australia in “good stead”.
Strong ticket sales and big TV viewing figures from the tournament’s opening night are only likely to strengthen FA’s case.
More than 1.4 million tickets had already been sold across Australia and New Zealand prior to the Kiwis opening the tournament with an upset 1-0 victory against Norway in front of 42,000 in Auckland on Thursday.
The ticket sales have already surpassed those of the best-attended Women’s World Cup which took place in Canada in 2015 (1.35 million).
“In Australia alone we’ve sold over 1 million tickets now and that will only increase,” Johnson told AAP.
“To give a comparison, the Qatar World Cup last year sold around 3.5 million, so to be the best-ever attended Women’s World Cup sends the right signal to FIFA and the rest of the world.
“When we do bid, we’ll have already hosted the best-ever Women’s World Cup and I think that puts us in good stead.”
A decision on the host of the 2034 men’s World Cup will be made in 2027.
In Australia, the Matildas kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 win over Ireland in front of a 75,000-strong crowd at Stadium Australia.
The attendance was a record for a women’s game in Australia.
The hotly-anticipated game against the Irish was watched by a peak of 4.88 million viewers on the Seven Network with an average of 1.97 million viewers across the 90 minutes.
According to Google, “Women’s World Cup” and “the Matildas” were the two-most searched terms in Australia on Thursday.
“We operate in a global sport and the more connections we have as a local game is better for the sport,” Johnson said.
“Bringing big global content to Australia is when you see the best of our game.
“We’re a footballing country because we’ve got two of the strongest sporting brands in the market in the Socceroos and the Matildas, we’re the biggest participation sport and those numbers are only going to grow after this tournament.”