Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego will host the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League Championship on Nov. 11, multiple sources confirm to The Equalizer.
An NWSL spokesperson said the league did not have any comment at this time.
Snapdragon Stadium is the home venue for the NWSL’s San Diego Wave FC, which currently leads the league in attendance with over 20,000 fans per game on average. The capacity for soccer games at the stadium is 32,000.
The NWSL has played its championship game at a predetermined venue in all but its first two seasons of existence. Since 2015, the venue has been selected ahead of time with hopes of making the championship a tentpole event for the league.
Historically, the NWSL has struggled to secure and announce the venue in a timely manner. Last year, the Oct. 30 championship was not officially announced as taking place in Washington, DC, until August 23. The year prior to that, the league announced a Nov. 20 championship on Sept. 5. Five weeks later, following public backlash from players and fans over what would have been a 9 am local time kickoff to fill the CBS TV window, the game was moved to Louisville for a noon local time kickoff.
At this year’s draft in Philadelphia in January, NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said the league hoped to have an update on the final prior to the start of the season in late March. She said then that requests for proposals had just started going out to teams to bid to host the event.
“I really do believe it’s about process,” Berman said in January. “I think that will bring us to the best possible result.”
San Diego is a logical choice considering attendance success for the Wave and favorable weather for a championship game taking place in November. The primetime kickoff also made possible the ability to place the final on the West Coast.
Snapdragon Stadium will also be the largest venue to host the championship and the expectation will be a sellout of 32,000 fans. If that happens, the league will be able to boast about its largest championship crowd in history and point to another tangible sign of growth as it looks to attract and draw money from new sponsors, media rights holders, and expansion groups.
Want even more women’s sports coverage?
Subscribers of The Equalizer can now save 50% on their subscription to our partner publication, The Next. Between the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast, watch parties on Playback and more than 100 reported stories per month, The Next has women’s basketball covered 24/7.
The current attendance record for an NWSL Championship game is 21,144, which happened in 2018. That year, the Portland Thorns advanced to the final on home soil (predetermined site) and lost to the North Carolina Courage, a team that lost only once in all. competitions while collecting three trophies in 2018.
Last year, 26,215 fans watched the Wave’s first-round playoff victory at Snapdragon Stadium, setting a league playoff record. A month earlier, a sellout crowd of 32,000 fans showed up for a regular-season game against Angel City FC to set a new league attendance record.
At an NWSL level, the question remains as to whether the championship game will continue to be at a predetermined site. Asked by The Equalizer in a preseason press conference in March, Berman reiterated the benefits of the setup.
“In terms of the format and building into what we started over the past couple of years, which has been sort of an incremental build to this idea of offering to a community more than a game with the fan fest, the summit that we hosted, we intend to continue to build on that for this upcoming year to make this our Super Bowl of sorts,” Berman said. “Whether we shift to a different model in the future I think in large part will depend on our media deal and some of the other pieces that likely fall into place over the course of this season.”
Subscribe for deeper insights like these: