Liga Iberdrola preview, as the women's game in Spain continues to grow
The women's game in Spain is on an upward curve breaking records in it's path as a new season is set to start with Iberdrola sponsoring the competition for the third year running.
Spain's women's domestic league La Liga Iberdrola is on an upward trajectory with more and more people getting interested in the women's game. Attendances are improving, the standard is getting better and the infrastructure around the game is moving forward also. Television support is another important ingredient in visibility and this weekend, as the domestic competition returns, four games alone will be televised.
Once again it looks like the title race will be a tussle between Atlético Madrid and FC Barcelona as Atleti look to bag their third league in a row. Sánchez Vera is now club captain in a team that has undergone plenty of change during the summer months. Barcelona will once again look to challenge the "Colchoneras" with little change in the Catalan side over the off-season.
One team who will look to break the hegemony are Levante UD who have brought in talented players such as Soni, Correadera, Silva and see last season's top scorer Charlyn as their main goal scoring outlet. Athletic will also have a say in the outcome of the title with clubs such as Betis, Valencia, Granadilla and Sevilla also aspiring for a top 8 spot. Newly promoted Málaga and Logroño will look to avoid the drop and it will be excellent to see the side from La Rioja playing their home games at the legendary Las Gaunas ground.
As the game grows, records continue to tumble, testament to this is the television audience of 287.000 who tuned into the 2017/18 league game between Atletico and Barça. It's now commonplace for the club's stadia to open their doors for higher profile matches as was the case laste season when games were staged at the Wanda Metropolitano, Anoeta or at Betis' Villamarín.
This season also marks a format change in the Copa de la Reina competition where all top flight sides get to participate as opposed to the former format where just the top eight had a tilt at the cup. More girls are playing the game too with an increase in women's playing licenses from 24.000 in 2010 to the current figure of 42.235.
Spain's qualification for next year's World Cup in France will also do wonders in creating even more visibility for a sport that is on an upward and unstoppable trajectory.