Battle of the Sexes

By | November 12, 2013


If you are looking for big news on American soccer, pay close attention to the summer of 2015.  Very recently, it has been announced that Fox Sports has acquired the television rights to both the 2015 Women’s World Cup as well as the 2015 Men’s Gold Cup.  Not only are these two tournaments during the same year, but they also take place during the same couple of weeks during the 2015 summer.  Obviously, something has to give.  Even though Fox Sports has multiple television stations, there’s no way that the company will be able to show both national teams with the same amount of coverage.  One tournament has to receive the majority of Fox Sports’s time, dedication, and attention.  Which event will take priority?


Clearly, the World Cup is on the biggest stage as it involves international times from every part of the world, while the Gold Cup only involves teams from North and Central America.  However, another difference between the two events is the gender of the players involved.  Unfortunately for women’s sports, they are usually less popular and favorable for fans to watch compared to men’s sports.


Although both the US men’s and women’s national teams have both gained popularity in the past decade, the men’s team has generally been more popular.  This result exists despite the fact that the women’s team made it to the finals in the last World Cup while the men’s team has barely made it out of the group stages.


Despite recent trends in popularity and preference in games played by a particular gender, the US women’s national team, and women’s sports in general, could achieve a “victory” if they are given more airtime than the men’s national team during the next summer.  In my opinion, this result should be extremely possible if not expected.  The combination of the US women’s team being one of the best teams in the world, along with participating in dramatic/exciting games during the last World Cup (see video below).  What also helps boost this possibility is the fact that the team has having some of the best players in the game like Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Sydney Leurox, who also have some of the best personalities and fan relations.  It will be really interesting to see which team will receive the most attention during the 2015 summer.  My prediction: the US women’s national team will overtake the men’s national team  in the news during the year 2015.

5 thoughts on “Battle of the Sexes

  1. Gilda Doria

    We would be so dumb to not give television coverage to the women’s world cup. Summer 2015 is going to be such a great opportunity for women’s soccer to continue to grow in fanbase. This is exactly the shift that Carla Overbeck discussed in class this past week. I would suggest that the US Soccer Federation pushes for more documentaries and marketing campaigns through big TV networks such as Fox Soccer and ESPN. For the women’s side to continue to grow we must expose the general population to the team. Many people, male and female, fell in love with The 99ers documentary. I think this was just a glimpse of the US Soccer team’s personality. always makes great videos introducing you to who the players really are. However, only people who really follow the team know this videos even exist. By showcasing to people that these women are more than just athletes who play soccer, I think we will be able to draw more fans to watching them play on TV.

  2. Julianna Miller

    I agree with Patricia in that the media plays an integral role in increasing the fanbase and popularity of women’s soccer in the United States. Americans seem to love making relationships with star athletes, especially when they have enticing personalities. The women’s national team seems to provide Americans with these iconic figures, with Wombach and Morgan, in particular. Their access to social media has been a large contributor in developing a solid fanbase, but there is only so far that social media can go before we would need national media to step in. The reason why the popularity has yet to spike to its potential, is a result of television and media coverage. The lacking popularity is because of the cultural disconnect with women’s soccer that exists in this country. In order for a cultural change to ensue, television and media need to play a large role.

  3. Patricia Spears

    While I agree with the opinons above that marketing can really only help the team, I think that the focus should be on lobbying for more network time and media coverage rather than individual players building a fanbase. The fanbase is already there, and if more coverage were given to the fun, hilarious things they do, an even broader audience. For example, by poking around the website that linked to the tweet, I found a page about funny halloween costumes Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux collaborated on ( It’s these small human interest pieces that I think would reach a broad audience, and really allow the fanbase to express it’s support more fully. I’m a big fan of the Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” If the media would give the women’s team proper coverage and respect as athletes and to a certain extent, role models, in a way similar to how they treat male athletes, more people would view them on equal terms.

  4. Balser

    I agree with Maggie that the PR for the team is the most important, especially in terms of sustainability. In today’s social media craze, the increased attention to either of the teams inherently comes during the times of major tournaments – thinking back to the last Women’s World Cup. Therefore in times of major tournaments, in this case in 2015, the fans will come due to the major attention given, even for a few days or week. In these times the most important thing, in my opinion, is the accessibility of these games. To make each and every one of them available, not just in a small corner of the internet such as ESPN3, but available for cable TV.
    When major tournaments are not occurring, I think that the importance must lie in doing a better job at marketing both teams better. In my opinion Americans want to be soccer fans, both for the men’s side and the women’s side, and we just have to give them the chance and accessibility to be so.

  5. Maggie Lin

    As Carla Overbeck mentioned during her visit to our class, increased and/or better advertising and marketing of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team by the U.S. Soccer Federation would probably help boost the popularity of women’s soccer in the U.S. While I agree that the U.S. Soccer Federation should be doing work to increase the visibility of the women’s team, I also think that the players themselves should individually do the same through social media and other forums of communication with fans. The page that you linked to about Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan hitchhiking with fans is a great example. That one tweet makes them seem down-to-earth, approachable, and friendly, and creates a positive image of the players, and by extension, of the team.

    Even if the women’s team weren’t as good (even though they are, which makes being a fan even more fun), likability is a huge factor in whether people support a team or a player. Also, if a specific player has a large fan base for any various reasons, then their entire fan base will be exposed to women’s soccer, which may lead to an increase in women’s soccer fans. Since there are still two years leading up to the 2015 Women’s World Cup, I believe that if players and current fans generate enough buzz prior to the event (through social media, etc.), then sports newscasters would likely, realizing the popularity, follow suit by increasing coverage. So, in my opinion, it is more about the PR being done in advance than anything else that should determine the amount of news coverage the women’s soccer team receives in 2015.


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