The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday afternoon that over 40,000 tickets have been sold for the women’s national team’s World Cup victory tour game at Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 29 vs. Portugal.
That figure smashes the all-time crowd record for the women’s team in the Philadelphia area, which has stood since the 2003 World Cup. The Americans’ group stage game against Nigeria on Sept. 25 of that year drew 31,553.
It also, as of now, will be the second-largest crowd for a stand-alone women’s team friendly - i.e., excluding the World Cup, Olympics and doubleheaders - in program history. The record is held by, of all places, Pittsburgh: 44,028 fans attended an 8-0 win over Costa Rica in 2015 that was the first home game after that summer’s World Cup triumph.
The current No. 2 crowd was recorded last Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the Americans’ homecoming game: 37,040 fans watched the U.S. beat Ireland 3-0 at the site of the famed 1999 World Cup final.
The U.S. women haven’t played at the Linc since Sept. 13, 2008, when 13,176 fans watched a friendly vs. Ireland. Since then, U.S. Soccer has preferred instead to go to the Union’s 18,500-seat Talen Energy Stadium, for both aesthetic reasons (fear of too many empty seats) and practical ones (the quality of the field and training facilities). The women’s team has sold out the venue twice, in 2012 and 2016, and came close in 2017.
Tickets for the U.S.-Portugal game can be purchased through U.S. Soccer and Ticketmaster. Prices start at $31 for the upper deck; add in the usual barrage of fees and that seat ends up at around $45.
It was a bit of a gamble to pick a NFL stadium for a game on the Thursday of Labor Day weekend. But the surge in the Americans’ popularity since the World Cup has fueled unprecedented interest not just in the team, but in women’s soccer overall. NWSL teams across the country have drawn big crowds since the World Cup ended. Sky Blue’s all-time attendance record of 6,053 was set in the Women’s Professional Soccer era, in the team’s first ever game in 2009. It was played at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J., before the team moved to Rutgers.
The club moved its Aug. 18 game against Tacoma, Wash.-based Reign FC, led by Megan Rapinoe, to Red Bull Arena in order to try to draw an even bigger crowd. Sky Blue’s all-time attendance record of 6,053 was set in the Women’s Professional Soccer era, benefitting from temporary bleachers installed around the field for another event.
U.S. women at Lincoln Financial Field: 31,553 (Sept. 25, 2003 vs. Nigeria, World Cup group stage)
U.S. women statewide: 44,028 (Aug. 16, 2015 vs. Costa Rica, World Cup victory tour friendly)
U.S. men at Lincoln Financial Field (and statewide): 55,407 (May 29, 2010 vs. Turkey, World Cup sendoff game friendly)
All soccer at Lincoln Financial Field: 68,930 (June 27, 2015, Mexico vs Jamaica, Concacaf Gold Cup final)
All soccer at Veterans Stadium: 44,261 (Aug. 2, 1991, U.S. men vs. Sheffield Wednesday, friendly)
All soccer at Franklin Field: 43,356 (Aug. 25, 1989, U.S. men vs. Dnepr, friendly)
All soccer at Temple Stadium*: 14,163 (April 16, 1967, Philadelphia Spartans vs. Toronto Falcons, National Professional Soccer League)