As Fox Soccer put it, “if you waited 11 minutes to get your tickets, you waited too long.”
A June 2 match in Colorado between the U.S. women and Japan was an instant sellout, with 18,000 tickets swept up in just 10 minutes on Friday (April 8).
Organizers expected a robust crowd for the game, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the Denver suburb of Commerce City. Japan and the United States have become storied rivals, meeting in the championship game of the last three big global tournaments: the 2011 World Cup, the 2012 Olympics and the 2015 World Cup.
One thousand standing-room-only spots were added to the Colorado ticket pool, “but even that wasn’t nearly enough. Fans gobbled them up as quickly as possible,” Ryan Rosenblatt wrote for Fox. The game was announced just four days ago.
Since their triumph in last year’s World Cup, the U.S. women have played 11 friendlies across the country, drawing at least 19,000 fans for all but one, a lopsided 6-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in San Antonio. That game, on a Thursday night two weeks before Christmas, was played in the Alamodome, an aging, lifeless dump. And it still attracted 10,690 fans.
The World Cup final, a 5-2 drubbing of Japan, was the most watched soccer game in U.S. history, with an estimated TV audience of 23 million — about the same as that for Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.
And yet, U.S. Soccer says, it’s just not possible to pay the women fairly.
The U.S. women play Colombia at 1 p.m. CT Sunday in Chester, Penn. That game — also a sellout — is the only other match scheduled between now and the Aug. 5 opening of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
U.S. Soccer expects to schedule a few additional matches, including at least one more in June, but no details have been announced.