How Chelsea shot themselves in the foot by offering free tickets for their Women's match at Stamford Bridge
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

It says a lot about the current progression of the Women's game that thousands more flocked out to the Etihad Stadium and paid to watch the Manchester Derby than took advantage of a free ticket to watch Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The sad number to pull from this weekend's attendance statistics is that although over 40,000 picked up a free ticket to go to Chelsea, only 61% of those people chose to attend - during an international break with no other domestic football in England.

Despite there being a lot less fans, the most impressive attendance of the weekend was most likely that of Bristol City vs Brighton at Ashton Gate. It was an unattractive fixture to neutrals compared to teams who are competing at the heights of Champions League football, but 3000 still went to the game - the Vixens' average attendance last season was less than 600. Looking back, that game shows the growth of the Women's game in England after the World Cup much better than any others.

The psychological value of free admission

It isn't a new thing to offer tickets for free to matches, and clubs have been doing it for years. However the issues with giving free access to a football match can be drawn back to simple human psychology. When somebody 'purchases' their match ticket, they don't get something tangible for that, and with it being at no cost to them their is not the same value as something that somebody even pays a little amount for.

Manchester City ran their event much better from a business point of view. Adult tickets cost £7, and even if you received four complimentary child tickets, people still felt as if they had a need to turn up because they had to part with their own money to be able to go.

How to capitalise on the Lionesses' success

A record number attended matches this weekend, and it is no secret that Phil Neville's Lionesses' World Cup campaign has played a large part in the progression of Women's Football in England. The FA Player was released this week as part of an attempt to grow the game across the nation, and in its first game week has already broadcast a number of games, whilst containing exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

FIFA used the slogan 'If she can see it, then she can be it', when it was announced that the Lionesses' friendly matches would be on the BBC, and the FA's approach to building on this summer's success seems to be taking that as the main stimulus for growth. On Sunday, the official Barclays WSL account reached 100,000 followers on twitter, something that shows the growth of the Women's game as a whole.