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Sam Kerr projected on to the sails of the Sydney Opera House on the night that Australia and New Zealand were named co-hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup / Credit: Jason McCawley/Getty Images
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Football Australia thinks big

The FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup, to be held across Australia and New Zealand from 10 July to 10 August 2023, is the biggest female-only sporting event on the planet. 

“This will be the biggest event to come to our shores since the Sydney Olympic Games [in 2000],” says Mark Falvo, chief operating officer of Football Australia. “I don’t know if people quite yet understand the magnitude of this event.”

So what off-field benefits could this huge contest bring?

60,000 international visitors and a $500 million boost 

Football Australia predicts 60,000 visitors will come to Australia for the Cup. Pent-up demand for international travel after COVID restrictions may see even more. And they will want accommodation, meals, coffees, entertainment and other services.

“We estimated before the bid that there would be in the order of half a billion dollars’ worth of economic and social impact from hosting the events,” says Falvo.

“In its own right, FIFA will be spending hundreds of millions of dollars in hosting the events,” he adds. 

‘Base camps’ in regional Australia 

The NSW Government has put forward Sydney and Newcastle stadiums for matches, and expects more than 16,000 visitors who will inject $21 million into the economy.

Perth, Adelaide, Launceston, Melbourne and Brisbane are also nominated to host matches and New Zealand has proposed five venues. (FIFA makes a final decision on match venues in early 2021.) 

But in addition to these host cities, there is a proposal for team ‘base camps’ in regional centres, where an international team can stay and train. 

“That’s part of how we can engage all parts of the country,” explains Falvo. “And it’s also how we can extend the legacy of the events to facilities and other areas beyond just the host cities.”

A legacy for local facilities

Match venues and training sites will be lifted to world standards before the 2023 World Cup. Importantly, that money will go towards upgrading the football community’s existing rectangular fields, rather than adapting venues typically used for other sports. 

“Whether it’s in the lighting or the quality of the pitch or changing areas—that investment will have a continuing benefit to the community afterwards,” Falvo says.

Senator the Hon Marise Payne addresses the media with the Westfield Matildas / Credit: Football Australia / Getty Images

Jobs and skills for Australians

The initial bid estimated US$165.5 million in total commercial and broadcasting revenue from the Women’s World Cup. But the work and upskilling provided to locals will be invaluable in areas from broadcast to marketing, IT, operations and logistics.

“All of those areas are great opportunities for Australians to develop new skills that will benefit the future hosting of events in Australia or, otherwise, expertise that can be exported around the world,” Falvo says.

Higher profile, more sponsorship

With Australia’s Matildas heading the news during the FIFA World Cup, we can expect an uptick in corporate interest in women’s sport. But what about grassroots clubs?

Falvo says the Women’s World Cup will boost football participation. When Australia hosted the Asian Cup in 2015, he saw a 20 per cent lift in local club registrations. With more players involved, it then becomes more attractive for local businesses to sponsor their local club. 

Business connections

The 2023 FIFA World Cup will also create an opportunity for Australian businesses to build trade relationships. 

“It’s a truly global football calendar and there is so much corporate and, frankly, state interest in football, it creates unique opportunities for Australian governments and corporate Australia to forge new trade relationships,” says Falvo. 

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