Why Arsenal women's move to the Emirates as their "main home" is such a big deal…

Why Arsenal women's move to the Emirates as their "main home" is such a big deal…
Alanna Cunnane
Alanna Cunnane

Arsenal women will play 11 of their games at the Emirates Stadium next season, in a landmark move that sees the ground become their main home over their current base of Meadow Park ground in Borehamwood.

Those matches break down to eight Women's Super League outings and also three Champions League games, assuming The Gunners secure qualification for the group stages of the competition.

Should they fail to qualify, 11 WSL games will instead take place at the Emirates

Here’s why this is a big deal.


It builds on the success of this year

In the 2023/4 season, Arsenal women’s side played six of their home games at the illustrious Emirates Stadium, packing an average attendance of 52,029, including two sellouts.


More forensically, here’s an analysis of each of their appearances there, with the 60,704-seats at the Emirates in sharp contrast to the capacity of 4,500 that can be squeezed into Meadow Park.

October 1st 2023 : Arsenal vs Liverpool. Attendance - 54,115
October 15th 2023 : Arsenal vs Aston Villa. Attendance - 35,829
December 10th 2023 : Arsenal vs Chelsea. Attendance - 59,042
February 17th 2024: Arsenal vs Manchester United (sold out) . Attendance - 60,160
March 3rd 2024 : Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur (sold out). Attendance - 60,050
April 21st 2024 : Arsenal vs Leicester City. Attendance - 42,820

In juxtaposition to this, during the 2022/3 season Arsenal played just three games at the Holloway ground, pointing towards significant and continued growth year on year.

With that said, they will still use Borehamwood for some games, particularly the domestic cup fixtures such as their Women’s FA Cup and FA Women’s League Cup fixtures.

Speaking on the news Vinai Venkatesham, Chief Executive Officer at Arsenal said that this is yet another example of how the club has been to “the forefront of the women’s game” since their inception almost four decades ago.

“We’ve recently seen extraordinary growth in supporters coming to Emirates Stadium for games held here, which include two complete sell-outs this season,” he began.

“The next step in our journey is to make Emirates Stadium our main home for Arsenal Women. We’re looking forward to giving more supporters the chance to watch our women’s team play.

“This is part of a collective drive across the club to take the women's game forward and support sustainable growth of the game so it can thrive in the long term.

Manager Jonas Eidevall echoed these thoughts, adding that the move wouldn’t be possible without the support of their adoring fans.

“We have a special connection with our supporters, who have shown up in huge numbers and pushed us forward every step of the way,” he says.

“To everyone who has followed us so far, thank you. You have played a key part in our progress and growth, helping us write this story.

“Next season, Emirates Stadium becomes our main home and we're all excited to play in front of bigger crowds every week. We can’t wait to see you all there.”

It showcases the strengths of the 'One club' model

Arsenal women making Emirates Stadium their “main home” could also point toward the strength of their “one club” ethos, outlined by their Sporting Director, Edu Gaspar.

“There’s great passion for our women’s team right across our club. We are one club, with a vision to win major trophies across our men’s and women’s teams,” he says.

“This move supports this ambition and we can’t wait to continue this amazing journey with our supporters,” he adds.

With a total attendance haul of of over 325,000 over all of their home league games this year (with one left to play), they’ve broken the WSL attendance record on their occasions this season, and coupled with their men’s figures, no doubt have cemented themselves amongst the most well supported clubs (across both genders) in the world.

Seeing as Mikel Arteta’s men have drawn in an average of around 60,232 fans per game, this means the club’s total, across both their men’s and women’s home league games this season exceeds over 1,767,063.

Especially considering these games take place on alternate days and weekends, spreading the influx of fans across both the men’s and women’s teams seems not just to be a smart moral move, but an intelligent monetary one too.

It's not just a moral pursuit, but a monetary one too

As was widely reported, the average attendance at an Arsenal’s women’s team match this season has out performed multiple clubs in the Premier League this season.

At 32,643, the figure surpasses 10 men’s clubs in that fashion, and should they be directly compared, would place them 11th overall in the Premier League table.

That list, in detail, goes as follows;
Manchester United: 73,531
West Ham United: 62,464
Tottenham Hotspur: 61,459
Arsenal (men’s): 60,232
Liverpool: 55,572
Manchester City: 53,110
Newcastle United: 52,153
Aston Villa: 41,903
Chelsea: 39,568
Everton: 39,042
Arsenal (women’s): 32,643
Brighton & Hove Albion: 31,535
Wolverhampton Wanderers: 31,037
Sheffield United: 30,009
Nottingham Forest: 29,386
Crystal Palace: 24,868
Fulham: 24,301
Burnley: 21,195
Brentford: 17,080
Luton Town: 11,236
AFC Bournemouth: 11,108

When viewed through a commercial lens, these numbers speak for themselves in terms of how marketable the Arsenal women’s side are.

With match packs available, it’s clear those at HQ are aware of that very impetus.

The “new Emirates Home Advantage Pack +” includes all 8 WSL games to be played at the Emirates next season as well as priority away ticket access at a discounted price of 100 at general admission tier 1 (or 12:50 a game) or 80 at general admission tier 2 (or 10:00 a game).

The difference between the two lies in the location of the seats, with Tier 1 seats described on the club’s website as their “best seats in the house, located along the halfway line” and Tier 2 as “entry level seats offering the best value.”

Club level tier 1 and club level tier 2 packs are also available, at 280 (or 35 a game) and 260 (or 32:50 a game) respectively.

The general Home Advantage Pack offers cheaper prices again, and there are further concessions available for U18s, young adults, senior citizens and those who require disability access.

Even at their increased price, it’s clear Arsenal are assured their fanbase will buy in at this level, and reap the rewards as a result.

*Note* The source for figures throughout this article are accessible here, at https://www.footballwebpages.co.uk/

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