Brighton & Hove Albion propose Europe’s first dedicated women’s football stadium
Brighton & Hove Albion, a prominent English Premier League (EPL) club, has unveiled plans to construct a dedicated stadium for its women’s team – a first of its kind in European football.
This move is driven by the recognition that existing football stadiums in the country are predominantly designed for male athletes and audiences.
Paul Barber, Brighton’s CEO, expressed the club’s eagerness to create a purpose-built stadium for the women’s team, emphasising the need for a venue tailored to their unique requirements. The proposal for the stadium has been submitted to the Brighton & Hove City Council, receiving cross-party support.
Currently, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Women’s Super League (WSL) team plays most home matches at Broadfield Stadium, owned by fourth-tier team Crawley Town, with occasional games at the men’s Amex Stadium in Brighton. The new stadium is seen as an opportunity to capitalise on the growing commercial potential of women’s football, fuelled by the increased viewership of major events like the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The decision-makers at Brighton aim to tap into the expanding audience for women’s football, with the recent Women’s World Cup garnering over two billion viewers. Despite challenges such as gender inequality issues highlighted during the tournament, the popularity of women’s football in England is on the rise, with WSL viewership totalling 15.3 million from January to April this year.
While Barber envisions Brighton’s stadium as the first of its kind, it’s worth noting that in 2021, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side Kansas City Current announced plans for its dedicated women’s sport stadium in the US, set to open in 2024. However, Brighton’s new plans are nevertheless an evolution for the female game.
“Hopefully we can fuel the growth of the women’s game in this part of the country,” Barber said. “It might inspire other clubs to follow suit.”
Brighton’s innovative approach extends beyond the pitch, with the club’s management known for its strategic scouting, development and profitable transfers. This ‘Moneyball’ strategy, leveraging the Starlizard sports analytics platform created by Brighton’s owner Tony Bloom, has propelled the club’s success, allowing them to rise from third-tier regulars to competing in the Europa League.
The club’s men’s and women’s teams are currently both eighth on the tables of their respective competitions.
That winning feeling! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/2DniT6DbmE
— Brighton & Hove Albion Women (@BHAFCWomen) November 12, 2023
The planned stadium for the women’s team represents a significant step in Brighton’s commercial growth strategy. Brighton’s commitment to nurturing both the men’s and women’s teams reflects the club’s determination to sustainably grow and compete at the highest levels.
Image credit: James Boyes