FIFA has announced that it will provide 20,000 complimentary tickets for Women’s World Cup matches held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Dunedin.
This decision comes in response to concerns over sluggish ticket sales in New Zealand. While co-hosts Australia have secured the majority of the 1 million tickets sold so far, with their national team, the ‘Matildas,’ considered strong contenders for the title, New Zealand has seen slower sales due to soccer’s lower profile in the country and the ‘Football Ferns’ yet to secure a win in their five previous World Cup appearances.
Sarai Bareman, FIFA’s chief women’s football officer, acknowledged the challenges of attracting fans to soccer stadiums in New Zealand due to the sport’s lesser prominence. To further promote attendance, Xero, the official partner of this year’s event, is offering an additional 5,000 complimentary tickets for matches in the four host cities of New Zealand.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also taken to social media to generate interest in the tournament. In an Instagram post, she expressed her excitement about hosting such a significant event and encouraged fans, whether casual enthusiasts or experts, to take advantage of the available tickets and join in the excitement.
New Zealand’s national team, the Football Ferns, will kick off their Women’s World Cup campaign against former champions Norway in Auckland on July 20. The provision of free tickets aims to attract a larger audience and create a vibrant atmosphere in the stadiums throughout the tournament, showcasing the talent and passion of women’s football on a global stage.