The 60 matches of the opening round of the 2018 Women’s Volleyball World Championships in Japan drew just over 100,000 spectators in total: 100,615 per official FIVB recounts of the matches. That comes out to about 1,677 fans-per-match.
While that’s significantly lower than the 163,453 (2,724/match) that viewed preliminary round matches in the men’s tournament, there are a number of contributing factors in play that confound any judgement about the relative support of local fan bases or the audience preference of one tournament over the other.
For starters, the men’s tournament had two host countries, Italy and Bulgaria. Host countries always draw bigger crowds, and with 10 matches involving host countries, rather than just the 5 from the women’s tournament, there will be an uptick in attendance.
If we remove ‘host nation’ matches from consideration, then the gap closes considerably – the men are down to 1966/match, while the women’s number falls to 1,038/match – still a big gap, but a smaller one at least.
The other confounding factor was the approach of Typhoon Trami toward Japan at the start of the tournament – which almost caused rescheduling of matches. The impact of the impending storm can be seen pretty easily in the September 30th attendance figures for pools C and D, located in the two cities most impacted: Kobe and Hammamatsu. Whereas the patterns (in both the men’s and women’s tournaments) bore out that evening matches were bigger draws, the reverse actually happened in those two pools. The storm hit Japan on the evening of September 30th.
|30 Sep||13:40||Brazil||3–0||Dominican Republic||25–15||25–20||25–22||75–57||1550|
|30 Sep||16:10||Kazakhstan||0–3||Puerto Rico||21–25||15–25||22–25||58–75||850|
|30 Sep||13:40||United States||3–0||Trinidad and Tobago||25–11||25–12||25–11||75–34||420|
|30 Sep||16:10||Azerbaijan||3–1||South Korea||25–18||25–18||23–25||25–18||98–79||410|
The 3-matches per day also probably hurts attendance (the men’s tournament had just 2 matches per day). Attendances during the working day, as early as 1:40 PM local time, were much lower than later matches; this is showing up even more heavily so far in round 2 with 10:10 starts and 4 matches per day.
The hosts Japan drew huge crowds, though, averaging 8,707 spectators per match. That’s actually more than either host team (Italy or Japan) drew in the opening round of the men’s tournament, albeit they played in the Yokohama Arena – which is larger than any of the opening round venues of the men’s tournament.
Their biggest crowd was 10,350 for their preliminary finale against Germany, though they drew at least 7,000 fans for each match.
Other high-water-mark matches for attendance in other pools (Pool A matches, even those not including Japan, all received the residual benefit from their presence):
- Pool C, Kobe, Russia vs. United States – 1,850
- Pool B, Sapporo, China vs. Cuba – 1,800
- Pool B, Sapporo, China vs. Turkey – 1,600
- Pool D, Hamamatsu, Brazil vs. Dominican Republic – 1,550
- Pool D, Hamamatsu, Brazil vs. Serbia – 1,500
Attendance Summary, Preliminary Round, 2018 Women’s Volleyball World Championships
|HOST||ARENA CAPACITY||AVERAGE ATTENDANCE||AVG. ATTENDANCE WITHOUT HOST TEAMS||TOTAL ATTENDANCE|
Attendance By Country, Preliminary Round, 2018 Women’s Volleyball World Championships
|Trinidad and Tobago||C||1420||284|