WATCH ABOVE: The opening match is complete and the FIFA Women’s World Cup is officially underway. Lisa Wolansky has more from Commonwealth Stadium.
EDMONTON – A new attendance record has been set in Edmonton as 53,058 soccer fans packed Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium Saturday for the FIFA Women’s World Cup opening match. That’s the largest crowd to ever watch a national team in any sport in Canada.
Calgary’s Tegan and Sara and Nova Scotia native Sarah McLachlan helped get things started with an energetic opening ceremony.
The stands were packed with people dressed in their Team Canada colours, red and white, to watch to opening match between Team Canada and Team China. Team Canada came out victorious, topping Team China 1-0.
While the excitement could be felt in the stands Saturday, FIFA fever has been heating up in Edmonton for the past few weeks.
“It’s been a really big month,” said Renee Williams, communications manager with Edmonton Tourism. “We’ve been so excited to welcome FIFA Women’s World Cup to Edmonton this summer. It’s going to be a month-long celebration.”
Several family-friendly events were held across the city and beyond Saturday to get people geared up for the event. And with matches being held in the Capital City until July 5, several more are planned.
“We really wanted to see all corners of Edmonton completely soccered out for the month,” said Williams.
The international event is projected to bring in $48.5 million to Edmonton.
“We know restaurants are busy, we know hotels are full, we know that retail is busy, so we’re quite keen to see what that number’s going to be,” said Williams.
And not only is the Women’s World Cup expected to be a boost to the city’s economy, it also puts Edmonton on the world stage. Williams believes it will position Edmonton to host more international events in the future.
“There’s definitely a buzz around Edmonton about FIFA,” she said. “I think Edmonton has had a really good track record with hosting these international events.”
“Great weather, great fans, people are excited about this. Edmonton is a top-notch city. It’s a great host city, we’ve hosted a lot of international sporting events and we’re going to continue to host more.”
Edmonton will host 11 matches during the competition at Commonwealth Stadium, including Team Canada matches on June 6 and 11; group matches on June 16; round of 16 matches on June 20 and 22; a quarter final match on June 27; a semi final match on July 1; and a third place match on July 4.
For the full schedule, visit the FIFA Women’s World Cup website.
For more information on the events planned in Edmonton for the next month, visit Edmonton Tourism’s website.